It’s a SmartBird — a robotic bird modeled on a herring gull. It has two meter-long wings, which utilize a bending torso for lifelike directional control. This robot is capable of taking off and landing on its own, but it can also be controlled and monitored from afar using ZigBee radio. Amazingly, all of this round up to just one pound, which means the SmartBird float about with moderate flapping.
It’s the energy efficiency of this type of bio-mimetic design that could make it compelling. I’m interested to see if this type of avian drone will ultimately be more efficient than a quadrocopter drone for long distance flights.
A couple more videos: