Researchers At University Of Maryland Developed Robo Raven Which Can Fly Like A Real Bird

The researchers at the University of Maryland have developed a micro air vehicle which can fly like a real bird. Being called as the Robo Raven, this little robot is capable of complex aerodynamic movements like diving, swooping etc. The flying machine put up such a realistic flight that it was even attacked by a hawk during a test flight.

The research on such vehicles has been on-going since last eight years and in 2007, successful test flights were conducted. But those models were not realistic as the present one which was developed after a new design was implemented with the help of some research students. According to a researcher, though the idea of a robotic bird seems simple, the designing of independent wings, which generate the required thrust and lift for flying, is quite tough. Even though several earlier models were tested by trial and error methods, the attempts to create realistic wings were not successful. In the April of 2013, a breakthrough by research students resulted in the development of independently movable wings using a pair of programmable actuators and a lightweight, optimized structure for the bird.


The researchers added that due to the addition of a microcontroller in the design, the robot got heavier. So laser cut versions of light polymer made components were used to cut down the weight of the model. Various wing designs, based on motion profiles and aerodynamic force data, were developed and finally one which suited the best for the job and can flap like a actual bird’s wings, was used. The whole system was then optimized to perform at the best efficiency and put to the flight test. Using the required software, the Robo Raven can be programmed to executive a variety of aerial movements. These include flips, dives, rolls and even sharp turns.

With this success, the researchers are hoping that more students will take up developments of robot birds as a hobby. This will lead to further refinement and enhancement of the technology in the future. So even though we humans cannot dream of a winged suit to fly off in the sky at present, such developments may come true in the coming future.

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