Tethered Drones Spin In Extreme Tests

How do little quadcopters fare at very high speeds?

We don’t know happens when quadcopters go really, really fast, but thanks to a tether system inside a padded room at a university in Switzerland, researchers are going to find out. With the quadcopters range of movement confined to a sphere 11 feet across, the drones can experience forces of up to 14 times that of gravity.

The researchers at ETH Zurich created the room to analyze and study the limits of drone endurance. Knowing how drones behave at high speeds could lead to better drone design, and could even “be used to safely develop high-speed maneuvers, such as emergency braking.” according to the researchers.

They also note that this setup could make quite the spectacle, noting “this could be then used in performance settings, possibly enhanced by light and sound effects.” Indeed it could! Feel free to flicker the lights and play electronica in the background while watching below:

Kelsey D. Atherton

Kelsey D. Athertonis a defense technology journalist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His work on drones, lethal AI, and nuclear weapons has appeared in Slate, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and elsewhere.