Touchdown Drones on Steep Rooftops

Many operators have learned the hard way that landing drones on steep roofs is almost impossible. Now, researchers at the Université de Sherbrooke have developed landing gear that allows a quadcopter drone to land even on a steep surface – which could have major implications for the commercial drone industry.

Researchers point out that the gear allows homeowners to utilize drones for security and surveillance, or means that commercial drones could execute emergency landings on rooftops – a safer option than a ground landing in an urban or cluttered environment.

In a paper published in IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, July 2022 – J.Bass, I. Tunny and AL Desbiens, “Adaptive Friction Shock Absorbers and Reverse Thrust for Fast Multirotor Landing on Inclined Surfaces,” researchers explain that lightweight friction shock absorbers, combined with rapid thrust reversal, can dramatically increase the landing envelope of a quadrotor. “The friction shock absorbers serve to dissipate the drone’s kinetic energy and the reverse thrust increases the maximum slope inclination at which it can land,” says the paper’s abstract.

Researchers developed landing gear prototype for a DJI F450, and tested the gear in real life, outdoor conditions. “The overall system enables drones to safely land on surfaces of up to 60° and at vertical speeds of up to 2.75 m/s, thus increasing the landing envelope by a factor of 8, compared to traditional multirotors,” says the paper.

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Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.

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