October 1, 2022

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New drone can attach itself to whales, pipelines and icebergs

German and Chinese researchers have developed a drone that is said to be able to attach itself to objects. Scientists recently announced their development in the specialized journal robotics science on me. So it is a robot that can fly, swim and “walk”. The device can “for example, dive into water, attach itself to a whale or an underwater vehicle and travel with it without using energy for this type of navigation.”

Co-developer Mirko Kovac told Deutschland Funk, a drone could stick to a pipeline and monitor it. There is also the possibility of collecting data on climate change under an iceberg. According to the announcement, the machine has two basic capabilities: on the one hand, it must travel between water and air in milliseconds, and on the other hand, the drone must be able to attach itself to different surfaces.

The researchers were inspired by the remora fish. Thanks to the slats located at the back, these slats are able to generate negative pressure. They cling to turtles, dolphins or ships and “walk” with them. However, the possibility of the so-called dual use of the drone is criticized. This means that it could potentially be used militarily as well.

Kovac responds to such assumptions: “If you set up a project and report that it could support environmental science, for example, that’s a very specific robot and a very specific set of technologies that make that possible.” Mission – Robots often look very different: for example, scaling is different, durability and also integration with other technologies, completely different sensors, operating systems, different requirements also have strength, integration or independence from civilian infrastructure, for example. You have to keep that in mind, I’d say.”

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