Researchers at Purdue University are working on a hummingbird-inspired drone that can help in disaster situations

Humming bird drone Purdue University.jpg

Researchers at Purdue University have been working on AI-powered drones that mimic the abilities of hummingbirds, such as hovering and quickly changing direction, which can help the drones in disaster situations. Studying the physics of hummingbirds allowed the researchers to build robots smaller than hummingbirds. 

Xinyan Deng, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, said: “The robot can essentially create a map without seeing its surroundings. This could be helpful in a situation when the robot might be searching for victims in a dark place – and it means one less sensor to add when we do give the robot the ability to see.”

An open-source simulation of the technology is available on GitHub. Early stages of the work, including the Montana hummingbird experiments in collaboration with Bret Tobalske’s group at the University of Montana, were financially supported by the National Science Foundation.