The drones are widely used in many fields. In addition of industrial or entertainment use, many countries also use them to assist in disaster relif. However, there's still many resctrictions on it. Because the cracks of the buildings are often deformed or too narrow, the drones are often failed to enter the building, but with the help of Swiss research teams, this situation may have some change in the future.
When the birds fly in the sky, if they want to across the narrow passways, they are often choose to fold their wings slightly. The researchers at the University of Zurich (UZH) and the EPFL team are inspired by this. They designed a drone which can compress itself in the air and continue to fly after the gap, then change to it's original form. If the passway is small, it also can fly in the form of compressed along the way and transport other objects.
David Falanga the researcher at the University of Zurich explained that from the prospect of mechanical, the team's solution is very simple, but it's also very flexible and autonomous under the control of perception system.
The team designed the UAV 4 axis aircraft, the four rotors are mounted on a movable axle. The axle arms can be folded on the requirements. As the center of gravity changes, the central control system can also adjust the thrust of the rotor to accommodate itself.
Their drone's standard "X shape" is just like other drones, but in case of narrow spaces, it can automatically switch to "H shape" or "O shape". So that the four axes are close to the body of itself, and it also can switch to "T shape", in order to observe the target more carefully.
Researchers hope to further develop the structure of the drone in the future, so that it can be folded in three dimensions. Most importantly, they want to develop algorithms that can make drones truly autonomous, enabling them to automatically choose the best way to reach their destinations.