Most drones are not able to withstand wind because of their fixed-arm design. A new design for unmanned aerial vehicles — UAVs or drones — enables them to fly in windy conditions, is more energy-efficient, and can handle a larger payload.

The drone design was inspired by the wings and flight patterns of insects. The drone design was created with automatic folding arms that can make in-flight adjustments. The design provides drones with improved stability in windy conditions because the folding arms can move and change the center of gravity of the device during flight. It also makes drones more energy-efficient because the movable-arm technology allows for the use of the full range of rotor thrust.

Drones currently have fixed arms that greatly reduce their maximum payload capacity when the payload is offset from their center of gravity. The new design allows a larger payload because the movable arms can liberate part of the rotor thrust to fight the weight on the overall device.

The foldable arms also can help in search-and-rescue operations using drones because they can more effectively navigate the air conditions in ravaged areas and morph by moving the arms to go through narrow spaces.

For more information, contact the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 765-588-3475.


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This article first appeared in the March, 2020 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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