Machine learning helps morphing-wing UAV land in cramped space

An unmanned aerial vehicle has carried out a perched landing, controlled by machine learning algorithm, for the first time. The achievement, by a team at BMT Defence Services and Bristol University, could lead to the development of efficient, morphing wing UAVs that can land in small or confined spaces, to deliver aid or gather intelligence. Existing aircraft are either fixed wing, which are very efficient but have limited manoeuvrability, or multi-rotor, which are very good at landing in small locations, but are inefficient, according to Antony Waldock, principal systems analyst at BMT Defence Services. So in a project funded by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), as part of its Autonomous Systems Underpinning Research (ASUR) programme, the team set about designing a UAV with morphing wing structures inspired by…


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