This one of a kind grappling drone was first spotted on IEEE Spectrum, and it’s a projectile shooting UAV that can hang in the air like a spider. The SpiderMAV drone was designed to hook itself to buildings and perch anywhere. This drone technology has opened new possibilities thanks to its ability to fly and anchor itself midair. It’s being researched and developed, but the grappling drone is still a working prototype.
The SpiderMAV drone is actually a DJI Matrice 100 custom fitted with perching and stabilizing modules. The perching module utilizes compressed air to launch polystyrene threads with magnetic anchors attached at its ends upwards. It then connects to a metal surface, self-tightens the tension of the threads and hangs like a drone chandelier. The stabilizing module works the same way as the perching module, but it fires its anchoring tips in a horizontal manner instead of vertical.
What’s the Point?
This technology, like other perching drones, is built for maximizing efficiency. Flying a UAV takes up a majority of the battery. The SpiderMAV drone can ideally find a place to rest, anchor itself and use less energy while performing various possible tasks in one location. Perhaps this drone be used for security purposes like monitoring, or it can even be used to provide temporary internet and cell phone coverage in disaster areas.
The Spider Man Drone!
The SpiderMAV drone was inspired by an actual arachnid called Darwin’s bark spider. The spider is known to have the “toughest natural fibre on the planet,” according to BBC. This nature inspired drone basically allows it to function in a state of hibernation.
Work In Progress
Magnetically anchored tips are only useful for metal surfaces like building beams, so the researchers from Imperial College London’s Aerial Robotics Laboratory are considering using different anchoring tips for different situations. Microspine anchors would be useful for attaching on the outside of buildings, while clawed anchors would be used to grip onto trees in the forest. The researchers also considered adapting gecko adhesives so that the SpiderMAV drone could stick onto glass surfaces. Right now, the SpiderMAV drone can only attach to metal surfaces, but researchers are still working on a solution to detach the UAV so that it can fly again.
According to the Aerial Robotics researchers, The SpiderMAV drone “opens up a new trend in the field of robotics on investigating string-driven systems with active moving platform.”
This is still a prototype, so it obviously requires more research and development. The SpiderMAV drone may look like a taser shooting UAV, but it can actually be useful in certain situations.