Along with the many other next-gen drones and UGVs on display at the AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International) conference this month, Lockheed Martin demoed its new SAMARAI monocopter, flying the one-wing drone for the first time in front of a public audience.
The SAMARAI UAV, developed for Lockheed by Advanced Technology Laboratories, flies using the same principle as the falling samara seeds from the maple tree, which glide through the air using one rotating wing to keep it aloft for longer than most other seeds. Unlike the samara seed however, the SAMARAI doesn’t just fall, it can actually perform controlled flight, as well as vertical lift off and landing.
SAMARAI Monocopter UAV
The drone was originally conceptualized as seed-sized device with an on-board camera that could also deliver a 2gm payload, however following several sets backs the SAMARAI is now just under 40cm in length, and weighs less than half a pound.
The SAMARAI has just two moving parts, making maintenance a breeze, and its on-board stabilized camera can rotate 360 degrees to shoot steady video. The drone can be operated with a remote control or a tablet PC.
Check out the video clip below to see the SAMARAI Monocopter in action.