No matter how advanced their landing system is, most consumer drones today require a flat landing spot to land safely. Small drones, in particular, are not capable of landing in complex situations, such as steep roofs, gusty winds, or high impact speeds. But now, researchers have taught a DJI F450 drone to land in some of the toughest scenarios.
The Createk Design Lab at the Université de Sherbrooke in Canada has developed a new landing technology that allows drones to land in situations that are far from ideal.
Combining the concept of reverse thrust and adaptive friction dampers, the team has designed a prototype landing gear that has since been attached to a DJI F450 drone and tested under real conditions.
In an article published in Explore IEEE, the researchers explain that when lightweight friction dampers are combined with rapid thrust reversal, the landing envelope of a quadrotor is increased. “Friction dampers serve to dissipate the drone’s kinetic energy, and the reverse thrust increases the maximum slope of the slope on which it can land,” the paper’s authors say.
For how much, you ask? Outdoor tests have shown that the new landing system can allow drones to land safely on surfaces up to 60 degrees and at vertical speeds of up to 2.75m/s. Impressive, right? See it in action below.
Watch a DJI drone land on a steep roof
The research team hopes to see their technology implemented in small drones in urban settings. This, they believe, would increase the scope of drone use. Some use cases could include rooftop surveillance, easy recharging of drones from rooftop systems, and safer landings in emergencies when precise control and optimization of landing speed are not possible.
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