What this drone really wants to be is Spider-Man – and it is, almost. Hovering in the air it has four tubes from which it shoots out web-like anchors.

Getting these anchors to stick is still a work in progress, as can be seen here, but the technology which allows the robot to tether itself to a solid surface is virtually there.

The researchers aim to do deploy the SpiderbotMAV, as it’s sometimes called, into extreme environments.

The lab’s director Dr Mirko Kovac says: “One core application area is in deep mines where we can imagine having drones operating in mines doing mapping tasks, sampling tasks and also looking at where the precious metals are, that is to inform decisions on where to mine, how to mine and how to do that more effectively, more cost effectively, more sustainable as well. So currently mining is done a lot with humans in the loops and humans are really four kilometres under ground in enormous danger, there are explosions there are collapsing structures, there is heat, so hot walls there is a lot of pressure and robotics can really improve that and that is one application that in particular we focus on here at the robotics lab.”

According to Kovac now the mechatronic solutions have been found, the team can turn their attention to solving things like the materials used for perching the anchors:

He says:”The Spidermav uses a new type of mechatronics solutions and new control systems to shoot the strings and attach (them) to the environment.

Now the string material is one very important aspect of that and for now we use silk material to do that. Now in the longer run, or as a future vision we’ll look also at new advanced new materials that could potentially also be deployed by the robot in different Read More Here