Createk Design Lab, based at the Sherbrooke University in Quebec, Canada has designed the Multimodal Autonomous Drone, or S-MAD for short. S-MAD’s approach to, and landing on a wall, was designed to mimic the way small birds achieve perching.
Createk Design Lab recently posted a Youtube video showing their system in action and according to the video the applications for S-MAD and similar systems include aerial monitoring in the aftermath of an earthquake as well as building and other infrastructure inspections. The drone can also be used to perch on indoor walls.
Interestingly the system uses a fixed-wing puller-prop design instead of a complex multirotor design. S-MAD uses a combination of proximity sensors, rapid aircraft attitude changes, suspension (for shock absorption) and microspine gripping feet to achieve landing on walls and stay perched on them. To take off from the wall the drone looks like it simply uses a combination of propeller thrust and elevator control.
The system is beautifully simple and it will be interesting to see if this concept gets some traction in the commercial and humanitarian industries over time.
This is not the first innovative design that has come out of Sherbrooke University, not so long ago we covered the Sherbrooke University Water-Air VEhicle, or SUWAVE. This system is also a relatively simple design, which allows water based operations with a flying wing design.