Tom Cruise did it in Mission Impossible 4, slipping on high-tech gloves and a pair of sunglasses to climb Burj Khalifa. Spider-Man does it every day, all across New York City. And even…Tom Cruise, again, did it in…Mission Impossible, again, scaling a mountainside with his bare hands.
The movies make climbing look easy. If the preeminent spokesman for Scientology can do it, then surely a drone can pull it off.
Almost. In their attempts to build a window-washing robot, the KAIST Urban Robotics Lab in South Korea has turned a UAV quadcopter into a clumsy wall-crawler.
A climbing robot can get close enough to buildings to effectively clean the windows without unintended crashes, and can also be used to inspect a building’s infrastructure.
So why is flight still necessary? Think of it as a very sophisticated safety net.
"The wall-climbing robot can stabilize its position even if it is suddenly detached from the wall by unexpected disturbances, using the flying capability," the researchers say. "It makes the maneuverability and safety of the robot improved."
Drones, it seems, will soon be unstoppable.