Autonomous Glider Can Land on a Wire

Evan Selleck - Jul 22, 2010
Autonomous Glider Can Land on a Wire

When it comes to unmanned aircraft, there’s pretty much plenty to choose from. And that’s not even counting the many that the armed forces have at their disposal. But, there’s just something about this little autonomous glider that we couldn’t ignore. Not only does it look like a kid’s toy, but it also has the ability to do something quite extraordinary, and suggests that the future of our UAVs is a robust one.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are the folks behind this little guy. He doesn’t seem to have a name, and we’re not crafty enough to come up with one, but if you’ve got any ideas, let us know. So what’s so extraordinary about this little bird-like glider? Well, pretty much exactly that: it’s like a bird. The researchers were able to make it so this little unmanned aircraft can land right on a wire. Of course, it’s not completely on its own, as someone is guiding it through the robotic controls.

The whole projected began back in 2005, and the idea was to create something that could, to the best of their ability, emulate the flight of a bird as closely as possible. Because let’s face it, even the most strenuous and advanced techniques pilots have, are simple enough to a bird. They are trying to make it so we can make use of the “post-stall” and “near-stall” flight patterns. As you can see form the image, they want to make it possible for our larger aircraft to be in flight, and then as quickly as possible change their pattern to land on something in a very short distance. The research is going well, but no word on when the science can actually be applied to something larger.

[via Wired]

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