Inspiration herring gull: like its natural role model, the Smart Bird flies solely through its flapping wings. The ultra-light ornithopter offers excellent aerodynamics and – in contrast to comparable aircraft – can take off, fly and land on its own without any additional propulsion.
Made of carbon fiber, glass fiber and polyurethane foam, the SmartBird is an absolute lightweight with maximum agility: With a length of 1.07 meters and a span of 1.96 meters, it weighs only about 450 grams. This consistent lightweight construction in combination with the intelligent on-board electronics makes the unique flight characteristics of the SmartBird possible in the first place.
With its special wing profile and the targeted twisting of its flapping wings, the SmartBird achieves an aerodynamic efficiency of over 80 percent. The wings do not only flap up and down, but also twist in a targeted manner. This is achieved by an active joint torsion drive, which provides both lift and propulsion. With this functional integration, the flight of birds is technically decoded.
During the flight, data such as the wing position, the wing torsion or the status of the battery are continuously recorded by software and checked in real time. This makes it possible to adjust and optimize the control parameters to new situations within fractions of a second. The permanent diagnosis guarantees the flight stability and thus the operational safety of the artificial bird.
SmartBird provides important findings for our core business in automation technology – especially in the field of aerodynamics. They can help to develop new components that require little installation space, are flow-optimized and thus become more efficient in terms of resources and energy. The functional integration of coupled drives provides us with information for the design and optimization of hybrid drive technologies. Possible applications range from lifting vane generators for generating energy from water to new actuators in process automation.