BBC News

Nature inspires flying robot design

Scientists are copying from nature to design the next generation of drones - flying robots designed for everything from military surveillance to delivering goods to our doorsteps.

In a special issue of the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, scientists in the US and Europe reveal drones with bird-like talons for grasping objects, and some that actively avoid obstacles using only visual sensors.

This could enable them to fly in built-up areas, as effectively as birds and insects.

UK-based aerial robotic expert Dr Mirko Kovac from Imperial College explained to BBC News how, with a greater understanding of the feats of navigation and control that flying animals are capable of, drones inspired by nature are set to become part of our everyday lives.

Additional drone footage courtesy of University of Maryland, ERC Collmot and University of Pennsylvania Grasp Lab

Video journalist: Victoria Gill