SpiderMAV Drone Shoots Webs To Perch And Stabilize


Introducing your friendly neighborhood SpiderMAV, a micro aerial vehicle that shoots webbing to enable it to hang from ceilings and stabilize itself horizontally using low power. It’s inspired by the Darwin’s bark spider that spins a circular web with anchor lines up to 25 meters (82 feet) long.

SpiderMAV perching and stabilizing modules

For the DJI Matrice 100 drone to hang from a ceiling, a compressed gas cylinder fires a magnet with a trailing polystyrene line up to a steel beam. The line can then be reeled in to the desired length. For horizontal stabilization, line-trailing magnets are fired horizontally instead and then reeled in to tension the lines.

To test the effectiveness of the system, a cross wind was produced using a fan. With the DJI’s attitude-hold mode, maximum X, Y and Z deviations were 136, 386 and 106 mm respectively. With the stabilization, however, the deviations were reduced to 47, 80 and 74 mm. The power requirements were also reduced to essentially nil. Watch it in action in the videos below.

SpiderMAV is the brainchild of Imperial College London’s Aerial Robotics Laboratory, led by [Mirko Kovac], and is still experimental. For example, a magnet release mechanism has yet to be built in. Perhaps a sharp tug by the reeling mechanism, or a sudden thrust by the drone would release the magnets. Or the permanent magnets could be replaced with electromagnets, provided the required current doesn’t offset the efficiency gains. What solutions can you come up with? Let us know in the comments.