Batcopter aims to improve UAS flight

Batcopter hovers in the background

Dr. Kenneth Sebesta has flown a mesh covered multicopter in front of thousands of bats flying out of a cave  in Texas.

Dr Sebesta writes,

The objective of my week in the Texan back-country was to perform some experiments on trajectory planning in bats, alongside some other bat researchers from Boston University.

These Brazilian Free-tailed bats (also called Tadarida) come together in the millions in caves all over Texas, leaving every night in swarms so big they can be detected by doppler radar. Somehow, they manage to fly through this dense self-clutter without major collisions, and so our goal is to better understand this behavior. The goal is to fly a UAV through the dense clutter, and record the bats’ response with three ground-based high-speed FLIR cameras, and an airborne 3D HD GoPro camera. The hope is to extract fundamental control laws of flying behavior in order to achieve better autonomous UAV flight.

Dr Sebesta was using the CopterControl autopilot board from the Open Source OpenPilot project to fly his multicopter.