Two Armed Drone Turns Wheel Valve

Posted on September 22, 2014

Researchers from Drexel University have developed a drone that is capable of turning a wheel valve. The drone is able to turn open or close a valve while in flight.

The flying drone grabs the wheel valve with its hands (manipulators) and then begins rotating to turn it. The researchers say a tightly integrated control scheme between the drone and its manipulators is required.

A human machine interface is being used to help the drone lock onto the valve and turn it in the video below. A robot like this could be useful in factories, submarines and large ships where it could be used to open or close valves as needed. Future developments with flying dual-armed drones could also lead to drones that can open doors and windows. They could also perform tasks like screwing in lightbulbs in high placed lights that a human would need a ladder to reach. Take a look:

A research paper on the valve turn drone can be found here on The paper, "Valve turning using a dual-arm aerial manipulator," was published for the 2014 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems.