The problem with many drones these days, commercial ones at least, is that battery life is usually not particularly great. Some of the bigger models might last longer, but the smaller ones have flight times that can be embarrassingly short. However, researchers at Brown University think that they might have found a solution.
No, they have not created larger batteries, but rather it seems that they are taking some cues from mother nature and have come up with a new wing design that could potentially increase the flight time of drones. This design idea was taken from birds where it is believed that this could result in the drones being able to fly more efficiently, thus reducing the amount of energy it requires.
What’s interesting is that this design also seems to fly (pun intended) in the face of aerodynamic design, where the researchers have opted to do away with the smooth contours of a wing’s leading edge. With this design, the researchers believe that the drone will be more capable of withstanding puffs of wind or turbulence.
According to one of the paper’s researchers, Kenny Breuer, who is also a professor at Brown’s School of Engineering, “Animals at small scale don’t try to keep the flow attached. They gave up on that 100 million years ago. Once you stop trying to keep the flow constantly attached, it ironically makes some things easier.”