A Swiss technology company has developed an award-winning drone inspired by insects. It doesn't matter how good you are behind the controls because it can bounce off walls. And glacial crevasses.
Have you ever watched a fly as it races around a room crashing into windows and walls, before carrying on as if nothing had ever happened? This bouncy robustness is the inspiration behind the Gimball, the collision-resistant drone from Swiss company Flyability. The Gimball has been in development for a while now, first coming onto the scene after winning the grand prize in last year's international Drones for Good competition.
The drone is now in beta testing and its makers have sent it out into the wild to show what it can do. The stunning footage below was captured in the Swiss Alps, and shows the Gimball navigating through icy crevasses in a mock search mission with a glacier rescue team. The drone, kitted out with an HD video camera, relayed pictures of unexplored ice caves back to the rescue team.
The Gimball isn't programmed to avoid obstacles, but to use them to its advantage. It's unique, spinning outer shell allows it to rebound off anything it comes into contact with without putting the drone off course.
The potential applications for the Gimball go much further than ice cave searches, though. Flyability anticipate the drone will become a feature on construction sites, inspecting hard to reach locations and compromised structures. The Gimball could also be used in firefighting and security operations, as its makers believe it's collision tolerance makes it perfect for sending into locations too dangerous for people, providing police or special forces with quick visuals before they move in.
It looks like a drone full of promise. We can't wait for its official release later this year!