A robotic albatross gliding at 200 mph is a dramatic demonstration of how wind power can be harnessed. But it is just one of several projects showing how unmanned aircraft can use air currents, from thermals and ridge lift to wind shear and even turbulence, to increase their endurance from hours to days. The robotic albatross is the brainchild of Philip Richardson of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (Mass.). Like its feathered counterpart, the aircraft harnesses wind shear—the ...


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