Researchers launched a drone from a pneumatic baseball pitching machine strapped to a truck traveling 50 miles per hour. They hope this ballistic launch method might lead to drones that are better suited for emergency response and space exploration missions.
The Streamlined Quick Unfolding Investigation Drone, or SQUID, was developed by Caltech and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). When folded, the quadrotor looks something like a football. SQUID is loaded into what’s essentially a cannon and blasted into the sky. It then deploys its rotors and is able to maintain stable, controlled flight. According to a paperon the prototype, “the design is 3D printable, launches from a three-inch diameter barrel, and has sufficient thrust to carry a significant payload.”
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