Bionics, as the name suggests, is to imitate the shape and structure of birds, bats or flying insects. Bionic UAV is an important direction of UAV research and development in the future, mainly through bionic optimization of the design shape and internal structure of UAV to improve flight performance and enhance the environmental adaptability of UAV.

The bionic UAV is characterized by being small, flexible and easy to carry. The materials of the bionic UAV are mostly high-tech composite materials, which are light in weight, small in size and easy to carry by a single person; It has a strong ability to integrate into the environment. The UAV can highly integrate into the natural environment because its shape is similar to birds or insects and its flight posture is also similar; The concealed approach is difficult to find, the highly bionic naked eye is difficult to distinguish, the noise of the power system is small, and the high composite material reduces the radar reflectivity, which can achieve close approach to the target without being found.

The “snow Owl” UAV on display in Russia can be used for reconnaissance, surveillance and target positioning. The UAV weighs 5 kg, has a endurance of 40 minutes and a flight distance of about 20 kilometers. It is made into a bird shape to reduce visibility and facilitate concealed access to targets. The developers disclosed that they have also made a “Peregrine Falcon” UAV, which can simulate the sound of peregrine falcon through speakers and drive away the birds in the airport area.

The “bionic butterfly” UAV developed and produced by FESTO company in Germany is a pneumatic bionic UAV. It has the same light shape as a butterfly and can show the effect of swarms of butterflies flying together. The UAV has a wingspan of 50cm and a weight of only 32g. Both wings are equipped with micro motor drive. Its wings swing 1 to 2 times per second. It can fly for 3 to 4 minutes with a charge of 15 minutes, and the speed can reach 2.5 meters / second. The communication network between “bionic butterfly” UAVs can not only be used in the logistics organization and monitoring system of factory production, but also be used to form UAV clusters to perform tasks.

Draper, a subsidiary of Massachusetts Institute of technology, has developed a controllable “Dragonfly” UAV, which combines micro navigation technology, synthetic biotechnology and neuroscience technology to create a fingernail sized control “backpack”, which is equipped with solar cells, controllers and sensors. Once the dragonfly carries such a “backpack”, it can be remotely controlled by the operator. The unique feature of the dragonfly UAV is that it uses optical electrodes to give orders to the insect nervous system after gene editing. This means that dragonflies can be controlled to fly on the premise of retaining their original flying skills, which other micro aerial robots do not have.

The “carrier pigeon” UAV developed by Northwest Polytechnic University of China has a speed of up to 40 kilometers per hour, a dwell time of about 30 minutes and a flying distance of 5 kilometers. The carrier pigeon UAV is equipped with a high-definition camera and an image transmission system, which can transmit real-time image information. Due to the use of advanced artificial intelligence technology, the “carrier pigeon” UAV can simulate more than 90% of the flight movements of real pigeons, which gives the “carrier pigeon” UAV strong concealment and can play an extraordinary role in special tasks such as air reconnaissance, anti-terrorism operations and anti narcotics operations.

The bionic UAV has a wide range of military applications, such as short-range reconnaissance and surveillance. After being equipped with optical, infrared and other small reconnaissance equipment, the bionic UAV can be close to the target to carry out reconnaissance or surveillance tasks; High precision guided strike: after approaching and determining the target coordinates, the bionic UAV can use its own laser target irradiator to aim at enemy aircraft, artillery and other targets to guide the strike; Sudden precision attack: the bionic UAV can carry a small number of chemical drugs, combustibles, explosives and other weapons that make people lose the ability to move. After approaching the target, it can suddenly carry out precision attack.

At present, most of the bionic UAVs developed use battery power supply and air lift to provide flight power. Obtaining lift by air convection has high requirements on the environment. The energy provided by lithium battery and solar thin film power supply is limited. Therefore, it is necessary to further study the power source or improve the energy storage efficiency of the battery. In addition, because most bionic UAVs are small and light, they are easy to be affected by the natural environment and difficult to operate and control in the aspects of stopping and starting, changing routes, launching and recovery, etc. However, with the rapid development of new material technology, the continuous upgrading of battery energy and solar energy conversion technology, especially the continuous deepening of artificial intelligence technology research, many bottlenecks of bionic UAV will be solved, and the bionic UAV will shine in the future.


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