Jun 17, 2019 | Updated: 11:38 AM EDT

Understanding Bats Flight, Maneuverability Is Useful for Drone Design

Jul 13, 2017 09:26 AM EDT

A bat is flying and searching for prey.
(Photo : Ian Waldie/Getty Images) A bat is flying and searching for prey.

A team of researcher has found that long-eared bats use their ears and body to help them fly and navigate the surrounding better. The research discovered that the bats' long ears are very useful to maneuver.

The lead researcher, Christoffer Johansson Westheim at Lund University worked with his colleague to study the long-eared bats flying technique. Their study is essential for developing the next generation of drone.

From their study, Westheim and colleague discovered that the long-eared bats utilize their long ears to make a difficult maneuver. The way their ears work closely resembles the vertical and horizontal stabilizers in the airplane.

“We show how the air behind the body of a long-eared bat accelerates downwards, which means that the body and ears provide lift," Westheim explained his research on the flying technique of the long-eared bats. "The large ears do not merely create strong resistance, but also assist the animal in staying aloft.”

Their study has opened more understanding of how long-eared bats make a maneuver in their flight while continuously sending eco-location signals. They find that during flight, the long-eared bats are able to send out soundwaves and perceive the echo from the signals effectively. The study has been published in the Scientific Reports.

Long-eared bats are the common bats in the continental Europe and Asia. The finding from Westheim and his colleagues has contradicted previous assumption that the big ears of the bats inhibit their flight and maneuverability. The assumption was made because the long-eared bats are considered slow flyers among any other bats.

Despite their slow flight, the long-eared bats have a very good aerodynamics. Westheim and team tested their flying technique in the wind tunnel and they measure the forces generated by bats wings and their maneuver.

The result of the research on long-eared bats flying technique is a valuable resource for drone design and development. Especially to improve the maneuverability and aerodynamics of the drone.

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