The Silver Post published Japanese engineers have designed a modular multirotor platform that can on the fly change shape depending on the task being performed.

This was reported in the IEEE Spectrum material.

Device properties allow the drone to squeeze through narrow openings or to capture the cargo with the help of a transformable frame. The report was presented at the conference ICRA 2018.

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Freight drones are usually set stationary box that is attached to the frame and allows you to carry the goods that fit into the existing dimensions. Despite the simplicity of this approach, it has an obvious drawback — the container will not fit too big object and a small weight sometimes has an additional record in the container, filling the void. Last year, engineers from Tokyo University in an unexpected way solved this problem, presenting a prototype drone, which hugged the box, changing on the fly its shape. However, this apparatus can perform only relatively simple transformations in two dimensions.

Now this same group of engineers built multi-rotor drone transformer called Dragon. The drone is a modular platform where each module has its own battery, computer module and a pair of rotors and compound modules occur in the rotary units with electric motors. All modules are controlled by Intel computer Euclid.

With this design, Dragon may on the fly to change its shape from the traditional “quadrocopters” shape, for example. to become a zigzag or letter L, while the drone, unlike the previous prototype, able to perform complex maneuvers, curving in three-dimensional shape. This allows not only to seize the goods, but also to change the frame geometry on the fly to squeeze through small openings. Continue reading about a drone that changes during flight.

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