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These Nifty Drones Can Lock Together in Mid-Air to Form a Bigger, Stronger Robot

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Drones assembling in mid-air.

The drones look like normal quadcopters, but with an extra component (a plug or jack). The drone with the plug and the drone with the jack are designed to lock into one another, like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

Credit: University of Tokyo/Advanced Intelligent Systems

Researchers at Japan's University of Tokyo developed drones that can assemble and dissemble in mid-air.

The Tilted-Rotor-Equipped Aerial Robot with Autonomous In-Flight Assembly and Disassembly Ability (TRADY) system allows drones to become stronger by combining, or fit into tight spaces by separating.

The quadcopters feature an extra plug or jack and a coupling system comprised of magnets to allow for stability after the drones connect.

Installing both the plug and jack types of docking mechanisms in a single unit will facilitate the addition of multiple drones.

Each unit features a distributed control system that can be turned into a unified control system for when the drones join together.

From Popular Science
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