William Roderick, a student at Stanford University in the United States, inspired by the paws of birds of prey, has developed a unique robotic landing gear system for unmanned aerial vehicles. The aim of the work was to show that this system, called the Stereotyped Nature-inspired Aerial Grasper (abbr. SNAG), can function as a chassis capable of adapting to various surfaces. For example, to allow a drone to land on a tree branch.
How it works?
The system is based on motors, springs and sensors. The springs and motors act as tendons, absorbing shock and providing a firm hold in about 20 milliseconds. The sensors are responsible for managing the balance of the system. The demonstration work of a new type of chassis made it possible to add the ability to catch objects later.
The range of applications for SNAG, according to the development team, are numerous, since the system allows the drone to land in difficult non-standard environmental conditions, which, for example, provides the opportunity to save energy when performing missions involving long-term monitoring.