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Be ready for something unexpected. The future drones would not just deliver pizzas or take your pet dog to a morning walk they could be as tiny as insects, enter jam packed alleys for rescue operations or fly like birds when scouring vast stretches of land.
Researchers have now taken to birds, bats, insects and snakes to build next-generation drones that can even withstand extreme weather conditions. Harvard University researchers have developed a millimetre-sized drone with a view to using it to explore extremely cramped and tight spaces.
A US research team has begun to tackle the problem of airborne robots facing the strong winds and whirlwinds by studying the hawk moth. The researchers flew hawk moths through a number of different whirlwind conditions in a vortex chamber, carefully examining the mechanisms that the hawk moths used to successfully regain flight control.
Another team has created a jumpglider to reduce the amount of power that is required to operate drones. Inspired by vertebrates such as the flying squirrel, the flying fish and the flying snake, the ‘jumpglider’ combines an aeroplane-shaped body with a spring-based mechanical foot that propels the robot into the air.