Drones have the potential to make some amazing technological advances but there are a few issues in the way - most notably battery life.
While the most expensive models have flying time of up to 30 minutes, it is much more normal for a commercially available quadcopter to fly for 10 minutes or less. While that's fine for a fun little jaunt around the park, it's less useful when it comes to more serious applications of the technology.
Better and lighter batteries will be developed in time but one solution which can be of use now has been put into practise by researaches at Stanford University in the US. Basically, they created a drone which can go for a bit of a rest.
More specifically, their craft comes with an extra piece of tech which allows it to grip onto horizontal and even vertial surfaces. Once there, the energy consuming rotors can be shut down and the drone can get on with taking pictures, using its sensors or whatever else it was designed to do.
It's a pretty great idea - getting full stable video and stills while perched on the ceiling is an ideal use case - and here's a video demonstrating the tech.
It uses Micro-Spines which are small filaments that are capable of gaining purchase on somewhat rough surfaces, in the same way a spider climbs easily down a wall and into your nightmares.
This prototype was created using an off the shelf drone and while it doesn't look very pretty the contraption obviously doesn't add too much weight as the drone is still operational. It's going to be interesting to see where this technology goes in the next few years - being able to grip onto smoother surfaces is one of the next steps in development.
More info over here.