AeroVironment’s Nano Humming Bird UAV flies by flapping its wings…
AeroVironment has release video’s of its Nano Hummingbird flapping-wing UAV successfully meeting the requirements of its phase II testing.
The Nano Hummingbird works just like a humming bird – propelling itself and gained altitude by flapping its wings. According to Defense blog Ares writer Graham Warwick, the bot is slightly ‘bigger than the average humming bird, but is smaller and light than the largest of the species,’
The concept demonstrator has a wingspan of 6.5 inches and weighs just 19 grams – a little less than an AA battery. The bot carries onboard a motor, video camera, network communications and a battery, and the whole thing is housed in a light weight plastic humming bird-esque disguise.
In the recent tests the humming bird was able to hover within a virtual 2m diameter sphere whilst withstanding 5mph gusts of wind. It also reached a forward speed of 11 mph, and flew under its power source for 8 minutes.
The device made its first test flight over two years ago, but back then it could only manage a short 20 second flight. Now, with the recent stepping stone under its belt, AeroVironment hopes the drone could be performing complex military missions within a decade.
The funding of projects such as DARPA’s Nano Air Vehicle (NAV) program is all part of a military initiative which plans to make one third of all mission unmanned by the year 2015. And as the deadline rolls ever nearer, the competition to be picked for deployment on the battlefield is well and truly on.