Autonomous flying in the sea of air

The AirPenguins and their collective flight come very close to their biological role models from the sea in terms of mobility and design. Their flexible 3D structure with Fin Ray Effect® at the rear and front allows them to glide through the air like their natural counterparts swim through the water. They can fly forwards and backwards with the passive twisting of their wings. The ultralight flying objects are lifted by their helium-filled ballonets.

As sea birds and excellent divers, penguins forgot how to fly as they evolved. With the AirPenguins, our Bionic Learning Network has developed a group of artificial penguins and taught them to fly again.

Autonomous systems with collective behaviour

The group consists of three penguins that fly autonomously. They float within a defined airspace, which is detected by ultrasound transmitting stations. The penguins can move freely within this space and explore it independently according to agreed rules. The flying objects recognise each other based on the distances to the transmitting stations, which enables collision-free flying in the collective.

The AirPenguins can also perform synchronous actions in the group. The intelligent control technology guarantees the height control and position stability of the flying penguins. An extensive central monitoring system counteracts sensor failures and continuously checks their energy status. If necessary, it also allows autonomous return to the charging station and ensures that flight is safe.