Are bioinspired drones the next big thing in unmanned flight?

A large body of research, backed by startup developments, suggests that drones inspired by nature are the future of aviation.

Plans for the future of air transportation include seeing a small army of drones compete for space in the sky with 50 billion birds around the world. But there’s also the potential for a halfway house, where bird-like drones end up flying alongside the animals they’re inspired by and traditional quadcopters.

A new batch of drones inspired by nature, many of which are university facilities, is attracting investor attention. Animal Dynamics, which launched in 2015 as part of an Oxford University project and has since raised £35m, sells the Stork parafoil drone, which – although it doesn’t look very much like an animal – incorporates inspiration from nature in terms of How it works. (An earlier project, Skeeter, was more inspired by the motion of a dragonfly’s wings, including its flapping thrust.)

bioinspired drones