SmartBird is an autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle created by Festo’s Bionic Learning Network. It is an ornithopter modeled on the herring gull. It has a mass of 450 grams and a wingspan of 1.96 meters. Smartbird is constructed of polyurethane foam and carbon fiber and is powered by a 135 brushless motor running at 23 watts.

Flight occurs in a manner very similar to that of real birds. The vertical motion of the wings is provided by an electric motor in the body of the bird. It is connected to two wheels that attach to rods in the wings in a manner similar to steam locomotives. Inside the wings are torsional motors that adjust the wings’ angle of attack to provide forward motion. Directional control is provided by moving the tail.


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