This insect-inspired robot can fly a kilometer on a charge with its flappy wings

The incredible agility of the common house or fruit fly puts every drone and robot to shame, but devices inspired by them are beginning to catch up. A new four-winged flapping robot not only successfully imitates the fruit fly’s hyper-agile flying method, but can travel for up to a kilometer before running out of juice.

Robotics researchers at the Delft University of Technology wanted to create a flying platform that could imitate and test theories on how insects fly the way they do, but without tethers or non-animal propulsion like propellers.

It’s not just that they want a cool robot: The way insects respond to things like gusts of wind or an imminent slapping hand demonstrate incredible reaction times and control feedback, things that could inform autonomous craft like…

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