New drone designs enable small UAVs to conserve battery life by taking breaks in unusual locations as opposed to landing back on the ground.
For example, engineers from Yale University and their colleagues demonstrated novel landing gear for drones to perch like birds or hang like a bat. From Smithsonian:
"We have a few different perching strategies," says Yale researcher Kaiyu Hang, lead author of a study recently published in Science Robotics. "Where it is totally perched, where it is grasping around something, like a bat, we can stop all the rotors and the energy consumption would become zero."
Another option is what Hang calls "resting." It involves using a landing device that enables a drone to balance on the edge of a surface, such as a box or a ledge. In that position, it would be able to shut down two of its four rotors, cutting consumption roughly in half. Another alternative makes it possible for a drone to sit on top of a small surface, such as a pole, a tactic that cuts energy use by about 70 percent, according to Hang.
"These Drones Can Perch and Dangle Like Birds and Bats" (Smithsonian)
image above: Kaiyu Hang/Yale University