Flying Robotic Bats
It may sound like something from the latest Batman film, but the flying batbot is no Hollywood invention. Developed by the German manufacturing company, Festo, this impressive construction intelligently uses constant communication with a stationary motion-tracking system in order to fly in a semi-autonomous manner. And, if that weren’t spectacular enough, it mimics the movements of fruit bats in a way that, at first glance, almost makes it seem real.
The batbot – the official name of which is the Bionic Flying Fox – may not have a wide range of practical uses at this stage, but it is a demonstration of how advanced the robotics industry currently is. Festo, which has already developed a number of robotic animals such as a jumping kangaroo, walking ants, and fluttering butterflies, is rapidly building a portfolio that is without compare, utilising innovative lightweight materials and machine learning to ‘bring to life’ its creations.
So, what does the ability of Festo and its Flying Fox mean for the future? Well, while there may not be an urgent need for consumers to purchase robotic bats – not yet, anyway – there are features of this bionic batbot which will undoubtedly find uses elsewhere.
The semi-autonomous nature of its flight, for example, is demonstrative of how AI takes autopilot technology to another level; the specially developed membrane, meanwhile, features a honeycomb structure that prevents any cracks that appear from growing. The practicalities of this – being able to retain structural integrity when suffering minor damage – are manifold.
R&D in robotics
Being a German company, Festo truly embraces investing heavily in its research and development activity, knowing that the support is available from the generous public funding schemes that are in place to support innovative businesses that are helping shape the future of the German economy.
In the UK, the government is equally as keen to keep itself at the forefront of the world’s cutting-edge industries. As such, the R&D tax credits initiative helps businesses engaging in such forward-thinking innovation enjoy tax relief for the expenditure on the research and development work being conducted.
Advancements in science and technology are essential to the engineering of solutions that reach across industries of all types. So, while it may not be the case that the development of the Flying Fox that represents the final product, elements of such a project could well filter down into more practical purposes. To find out more about R&D tax engineering credits, see an R&D tax credit claim example, or simply discuss how your project may qualify, get in touch with R&D Tax Solutions today.