Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Military plans hummingbird-sized spies

Nano Aerial Vehicle will help soldiers fighting in crowded urban areas

Image: Prototype Samurai NAV
A prototype of the Samurai, a remote-controlled, battery-powered Nano Aerial Vehicle with two flapping wings that weighs about as much as two nickels and is just slightly longer than three inches.
 
by Ned Smith

Soldiers fighting future battles in crowded urban areas will be able to launch hummingbird-sized unmanned nano aerial vehicles — or NAVs — capable of carrying sophisticated sensors and flying through open windows in buildings to report back on enemy positions.

A new project partly funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ( DARPA) called the Nano Aerial Vehicle (NAV) program aims to develop an extremely small, ultra-lightweight aerial vehicle for urban military missions that can fly both indoors and outdoors and that is capable of climbing and descending vertically as well as flying sideways left and right.

DARPA says the NAV program pushes the limits of aerodynamic and power conversion efficiency, endurance and maneuverability for very small air vehicle systems.

The design the agency green lighted for further development actually will look and fly much like a hummingbird. The winning concept, developed by AeroVironment, is called Nano Scout (Nano Sensor Covert Observer in Urban Terrain). It is a remote-controlled, battery powered NAV with two flapping wings that weighs about two grams (about as heavy as two nickels) and is just slightly longer than three inches.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38062588/ns/technology_and_science-innovation/

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