For the BionicFlyingFox, our developers from the Bionic Learning Network took a close look at the flying fox and incorporated its special flying characteristics into the technology. The combination of the integrated on-board electronics with an external motion capture system enables the ultralight flying object to move semi-autonomously in a defined airspace.
Sophisticated design: the on-board electronics built into the body combined with the mechanical system in the wings
So that the BionicFlyingFox is able to move semi-autonomously in a defined space, it communicates with a motion capture system. The installation detects its position continuously. At the same time, the system plans the flight paths and delivers the necessary control commands for this. The human operator performs the launch and landing manually. An autopilot takes over during the flight.
One important part of the motion capture system is two infrared cameras which rest on a pan-tilt unit. This allows them to be rotated and tilted in such a way that they can track the entire flight of the BionicFlyingFox from the ground. The cameras detect the flying fox by means of four active infrared markers on the legs and wing tips.
The images from the cameras go to a central master computer. It evaluates the data and coordinates the flight from outside like an air traffic controller. Also stored on the computer are preprogrammed paths which specify the flight path for the BionicFlyingFox when performing its manoeuvres. The wing movements required for optimum implementation of the intended paths are calculated by the artificial flying fox itself with the help of its on-board electronics and complex behaviour patterns.
The flying fox receives the control algorithms necessary for this from the master computer, where they are automatically learned and constantly improved. The BionicFlyingFox is thus able to optimise its behaviour during flights and thereby follow the specified courses more precisely with each circuit flown. This is controlled by the movement of the legs and the adjustable wing area.