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This Micro Dragonfly Drone Only Weighs 50 Grams

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Next-generation drones will borrow designs from nature itself. There’s already a rise in biologically inspired drone technology, and one notable concept is a drone designed after a dragonfly. By mimicking the insect’s agility and wings, a company called Animal Dynamics created the Skeeter drone. This dragonfly drone only weighs 50 grams, and it’s one of many future drones being researched and developed right now.

Dragonfly Drone

The Skeeter has a wing propulsion system designed after a dragonfly because it allows the drone to quietly glide and fly further distances compared to similarly sized drones. This small scale drone is estimated to be 12 cm long, and it will also be equipped with flight modes like follow me and hover. Instead of having rotating motors, the Skeeter can flap its wings to fly, which maximizes efficiency. The nature-inspired design also allows it to tolerate higher wind speeds. Birds and insects can combat gusts of winds, so it was only natural for researchers to borrow that design and implement it into the dragonfly drone. The Skeeter’s estimated top speed is about 28 mph, which is only 3 mph less than the top speed of a larger DJI Spark drone. The Skeeter is still being developed, but it will first be utilized by the military.

dragonfly drone

The picture on the left is a snapshot from the Engineer

The problem with traditional spinning propellers is that it can easily break upon impact. A wing driven flight system is an answer to the drone crash problem; it can ideally bump into objects and recover better than the likes of a quadcopter.

dragonfly drone

Uses

According to a Drone Radio Show interview on Youtube with Alex Caccia, the CEO of Animal Dynamics, the Skeeter was designed to be used for the military. Currently, small scale drones like the Black Hornet are being used on the battlefield, but it is wind sensitive. The dragonfly drone is created to be small, stealthy and wind resistant. The Skeeter would aid soldiers by letting them peak around corners and scout nearby areas without raising an alarm. Besides military use, the Skeeter was described to be applicable for search and rescue, surveying and agriculture.

dragonfly drone

About the Company

Animal Dynamics started at the prestigious University of Oxford, and the company was officially formed in 2015 by Adrian Thomas, Professor of Biomechanics of Oxford, and Mr. Caccia. Their goal is to create revolutionary systems by combining influences from nature and advanced engineering to solve real-world problems.

dragonfly drone

Other Biologically Inspired Drones

The U.S. military has also shown interest in developing unique drones based off animals. Even civilian researchers are looking into nature to create insect inspired drones such as the SpiderMAV. The military is currently researching a flying squirrel like drone that can lift off the ground similar to a quadcopter and glide in the air like a fixed-wing drone. The SpiderMAV is a UAV inspired from a spider, and it can rest midair by creating a webbed anchoring system for purposes such as surveillance and security.

squirrel droneSpiderMav Drone

Multirotor UAVs drive the consumer drone market, but these next-generation drones have potential to set the standard for future drone designs. If these UAVs can truly increase flight efficiency, then nature-inspired drones will eventually change how everyday drones fly.

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