This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)
Drones have their limitations. A drone can be seen and heard which is counterproductive to the purpose of surveillance drones. People on the ground will be alerted and perhaps attack the drone.
The Silent Flyer (Flygildi) drone developed by Hjalti Hardarson tries to cope with this challenge. This autonomous drone is quiet, and it looks and flies like a bird. ”The Holy Grail for drone technology has always been the ability to fly without rotors and using flapping wings instead,” says Hardardson. The unique wing design makes the device fly like a bird while the drone operator has real-time control of the wings for steering the device.
The bird drone could prove useful for law enforcement and military purposes. It will make it a lot easier to do surveillance for law enforcement, says Hardarson. ”In any scenario where you do surveillance on a large group of people, at a concert or a soccer game, you can now do it without being detected. In addition, the Silent Flyer can stay airborne longer than regular propeller drones because the wings make it more energy efficient.”
For the military, the other obvious target group besides the police, the Silent Flyer comes with an added bonus. ”The drone is so bird-like that radars cannot tell it apart from real birds. Naturally, that is a crucial factor for military use.”
The idea is both simple and radical. ”First, we build a bird-like device where we use seabirds as models. Secondly, we use evolutionary computational methods to teach the device to fly like a bird,” Hardarson explains.
The bird drone uses flapping wings for silent flight and vertical takeoff and landing.
Flygildi is currently working on prototypes that have been successfully tested. Hardarson explains. ”We are constantly improving the flying performance.” That improvement depends on the second part of the idea, teaching the device to fly like a bird.