Hi everyone, here is a video of a new perching drone that we developped, called S-MAD (Sherbrooke's Multimodal Autonomous Drone).

It's the first fixed-wing drone that autonomously perches and takes off from vertical surfaces, both indoors and outdoors. This kind of ability enables small UAVs to perform extended missions, offering new types of applications. Ultimately, such bird-inspired platforms could be used for long duration surveillance, energy harvesting, inspection of structures or reconfigurable sensor networks.

We also have a paper on this with more detail, available on Springer.



Views: 996

Comment by RM Aviation on August 3, 2017 at 2:44pm
Very nice work. Do you have any plans for the release of this technology? There are so many uses for this!
Comment by Andreas Gazis on August 3, 2017 at 4:23pm

Spectacular, very well done. What kind of flight controller did you use?

Comment by Eli Cohen on August 4, 2017 at 3:36am
Didn't Stanford do this back in 2010? https://youtu.be/Uo-7YlJRsbM
Comment by Dino Mehanovic on August 4, 2017 at 6:35am

Thank you all for your interest and questions!!

@ RM Aviation: We're still working on the platform to further improve its capabilities, before considering a ''commercial'' release. However, most of the design parameters are explained in the paper, if someone wanted to build the same platform.

@ Andreas Gazis: We used a PixHawk microcontroller and designed custom control loops for the perching maneuver.

@ Eli Cohen: Indeed, Stanford worked previously on fixed-wing perching. However, if you look closely at the video, you'll see that the perching platform is a glider and the platform taking off is a different one (motorized). We were able to combine the vertical landing and takeoff capabilities in a single platform. We also take advantage of thrust for improved performance at landing.

Comment by Marc Dornan on August 4, 2017 at 9:47am

That is just fantastic work. Well done.

How easily would a serious gust of wind dislodge a perched UAV? In other words do you need a calm environment.

Also, I imagine that this could be easily adapted to allow landing in tight spaces -- probably a trivial thing.

Comment by Dino Mehanovic on August 4, 2017 at 1:13pm

Thank you Marc!

The airplane can definitely take on some wind before being dislodged from a perched position. However, we haven't characterized precisely the maximum levels of gust that it can support. It should be part of future work that we'll complete soon.

Some solutions (in case of bad performance due to wind gusts) are the use of claws, which would be opposed microspine toes as the ones shown in the video. With such claws, the platform would be gripping to the surface and much larger gusts would be required to dislodge it.

We haven't looked into landing in tight spaces for now, although it could be an interesting idea. Hover flight could help in such cases for slow navigation!

Comment by Charles Blouin on August 7, 2017 at 8:35am

Cool! I did not know uSherbrooke was doing this kind of research. Beau travail!

Comment by Dino Mehanovic on August 7, 2017 at 9:02am

Merci Charles!

We're starting to have a lot of great research projects on drones, and robotics in general, at uSherbrooke. You can have a look at Createk Design Lab's website to see those: https://www.createk.co/

Comment by Charles Blouin on August 7, 2017 at 10:59am


Comment by John Arne Birkeland on August 8, 2017 at 12:30am


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