Bird-inspired foot and limb for perching drones preliminary considerations

  • Horsin Damien
  • Abourachid Anick
  • Rakotondrabe Micky
  • Ruffier Franck
  • Raharijaona Thibaut

  • Biomechanical analysis
  • Pressure-sensing
  • Perching robot


The aim of perching drones is to access the environment in a lot of locations for recovery operations, exploration and surveillance. The main challenge is to build a lightweight mechanism that can be easily mounted on the drone allowing to perch stably on a variety of natural substrates. A lightweight modularized and actuated landing gear framework stabilizes the drone on a wide range of structures by perching and resting [1]. The mechanical framework is inspired by claws of birds but the anatomy of the whole body is not taken into account. A dynamic model reveals how birds stabilize their grasp depending on surface asperities [2]. The model shows how birds can grasp complex surfaces but the role of each finger for perching stably is not investigated. It is therefore essential to know how a drone can perch on a branch whatever the geometry, the surface and how it can remain stable despite external disturbances. We take inspiration from the anatomy of birds to optimize the interaction of drones with the environment. We describe thanks to preliminary considerations how combining: (i) the foot configuration (ii) the arrangement of tendons and (iii) the toe pad surface, we will construct a bioinspired perching drone. We used video acquisitions of living birds in 3D with high-speed cameras for preliminary experiments and we studied the anatomy of bird’s foot and limb.