Bat Inspired UAFs: Biomimicry In Progress By U.S. Air Force
The Office of Scientific Research of the U.S. Air Force is studying bats... bats and birds and insects that can fly in all kinds of wind and weather and still maintain their balance, agility, and adaptability. Why? To mimic the characteristics of these supreme fliers in new unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV's).
Surprisingly, the micro-UAVs developed to date have not been designed incorporating the mechanical properties of natural flyers. But Kenny Breuer a fluid mechanics professor from Brown University, and Wei Shyy, an aerospace engineer from the University of Michigan, are working on projects to change that.
Bats, the only mammals that can fly, have fluid wings that are nearly as dexterous as human hands. They are also able to withstand very strong wind gusts. The research teams are studying these two areas in particular.
Both teams have developed preliminary models based on what they have learned so far from studying bats in flight. Wing flexibility will be a key component of the future UAV's. I can't wait to see the new UAVs in flight! How about you?