A charging solution for delivery drones: Take after our feathered friends?

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Amazon’s plan to unleash a wave of "delivery drones" has occasionally been criticized as a pie-in-the-sky idea (literally, if they start shipping baked goods).

One limitation is that Amazon's devices currently only store enough energy to fly within 10 miles of a fulfillment center. But CSAIL researchers say that they have a solution — and it's thanks to pigeons.

In a new paper, CSAIL researchers developed a lightweight unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can perch on a power line like a bird. This opens up the possibility for UAVs to recharge their batteries using the magnetic fields emitted by power lines.

The CSAIL team’s single-motor glider has a complex control system that automatically directs it to slow down, tip its wings, and hook onto a line, even in moderate wind conditions. Where past versions required wall-mounted cameras and a separate computer, CSAIL’s latest iteration has on-board sensors and electronics that can plan and execute moves in real-time.

Read more at MIT News: http://bit.ly/SY09Ev or on TechCrunch and VICE.