Canadian researchers have developed an autonomous drone which can take off and land on walls – like a bird.

How it works

The drone uses a range sensor to detect the wall. It performs a rapid pitch-up maneouvre through feedback control. This allows it to maintain vertical speed and pitch angle for landing. When it lands on the wall, suspension absorbs the remaining kinetic energy. Microspine feet cling onto the surface.


“This project is the first to allow a fixed-wing drone to land and re-launch on a wall,” says Alexis Lussier Desbiens, one of the researchers at the University of Sherbrook. Equipped with small claws that cling to the surface roughness, the S-MAD drone can thus pause on brick, concrete and asphalt shingles.”

He adds: “It does not work on smooth surfaces like glass or metal but we are working on technologies that should allow it .”

The drone’s capability could support many applications, the researchers say, such as aerial monitoring in the aftermath of an earthquake and building inspection.

Watch the video to see it in action: