Bioinspired Perching and Crawling Drones

Bioinspired Perching and Crawling Drones

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are the fastest growing sector of aviation with wide-ranging applications. Apart from flight there exists an urgent necessity for multi-role aerial robots. In spite of the rapid advancement in drone technology, there exist significant limitations including their inability to perform multiple roles. The development of aerial robots capable of diverse locomotion capabilities such as perching and crawling would further enhance their scope of implementation. From surveillance, reconnaissance and acting as communication relays during disaster recovery, the innovation potential and value of multi-role drones is evident. The UAS team in RMIT is uniquely positioned to tackle this challenge by combining advanced materials with drone technology to create bioinspired drones with extensive locomotion capability. This collaborative project will involve the integration of gecko-inspired dry adhesive technology to drones and develop an aerial robot prototype capable of autonomous non-horizontal surface landing, crawling and eventual detachment [1,2]. This can be particularly challenging since surfaces in the outdoor environment vary significantly in orientation, texture, contrast, etc. Therefore a perching drone require the capacity to initially identify landing surface subsequently
perform a combination of flight maneuvers to enable safe attachment and detachment.

The aim of this project is to design and test flight control systems and maneuvers for quadcopter based drones to facilitate attachment, crawling and detachment from non-horizontal surfaces. Additionally the feasibility of drones equipped with bioinspired dry adhesives for crawling and scaling walls of different textures will also be explored. The project will result in a prototype drone capable of perching, landing and safely detaching from vertical surfaces of different textures.

References:
[1]. G. Huber, H. Mantz, R. Spolenak, K. Mecke, K. Jacobs, S. N. Gorb, E. Arzt, Evidence for
van der Waals adhesion in gecko setae, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 2005, 102, 16293.
[2].Emre Kizilkan et al. Bioinspired photocontrollable microstructured transport
device, ScienceRobotics (2017)

Scholarships: 
Postgraduate Research Scholarships
International Postgraduate Research Scholarships
Supervisor: 
Dr Sridhar Ravi