AirPenguins – autonomously flying robotic penguins

With the AirPenguins, the engineers from Festo have created artificial penguins and have taught them "autonomous flight in the sea of air". For this purpose, control and regulating technology had to be further developed into self-regulating biomechatronic systems, which could also play a future role in adaptive production.

A group of three autonomously flying penguins hovers freely through a defined air space that is monitored by ultrasound transmission stations. The penguins are at liberty to move within this space; a microcontroller gives them free will in order to explore it.


The bionic Fin Ray® structure, derived from the anatomy of a fish's fin, was extended here for the first time to applications in three-dimensional space. If the 3D Fin Ray® structure of the head and tail sections is transferred to the requirements of automation technology, it can be used for instance in a flexible tripod with a very large scope of operation in comparison with conventional tripods.