Skip to comments.DARPA's Maple leaf Remote Control drone takes first flight (video)
Posted on 08/14/2011 6:32:20 AM PDT by LibWhacker
After five years behind locked doors, researchers at Lockheed Martin's Intelligent Robotics Laboratories in New Jersey have emerged with a working prototype of the "Samarai," a tiny DARPA-commissioned surveillance drone. The nano air vehicles (NAVs), modeled after falling Maple leaf seeds, are designed to be super light weight and agile for vertical lift off, hovering, and navigation in tight spaces. Like your favorite $5 Subway sammie, these surveillance bots are a foot long, but instead of being shoveled in your mouth, they're thrown like boomerangs into flight and controlled using a tablet app or a basic remote. These eyes in the sky will officially launch next week at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Conference, but until then you can check out the video of their first flight below.
Update: Lockheed Martin wrote in to let us know that although originally commissioned by DARPA, this project is currently funded internally. Lockheed also noted that the flight recorded in the video is only a test flight, rather than a first flight for the Samarai.
Maybe it is a prototype issue, but it does seem to be very noisy for a surveillance device.
In those confined spaces it makes quite a bit of noise, but probably wouldn’t be that noticeable out in the open or in a city where there is already so much noise.
It appears, if my memory is still intact, that `Popular Electronics` came out with plans for this design 40(?) years ago, but not remote control.
If surveillance is confined to a hydroelectric plant it’d be a piece of cake.
A different video
World’s first controllable MAV monocopter, Robotic Samara (maple seed)
That thing is too noisy and unstable compared to common battery powered remote control helicopters available at many hobby stores.
I believe there is a problem of precession control. It’s like the boomerang except that the counter torquing is not done over a large path but inside a tight spiral held down in part by the inertia of the center core.
“So what am I missing. “
A paycheck from Lockheed?
I have some friends, that lives in Maryland, that combined remote control helicopters with cameras from broken camcorders and TV rabbit transmitters over 20 years ago. They learned to fly them quiet well from their TV receivers. It was a hobby.
This project is a fine example of why our Country is so deep in debt.
I have no problem with financing military hardware development but too many of these projects are just stupid excuses to spend Government money.
Yes the wealth is transferred back into our economy.
It’s research. It may look stupid but I was thinking if you enlarged it so that it was 60-70 ft and were able to generate lift comparable to a helicopter ........ Well then you might have a vertical lift vehicle without a tail rotor Or fear of the Jesus bolt failing or two big propellers rotating.
I’d rather waste money on DARPA than beer, pot, television cable service and cell phone for the parasites and feral youths wandering our country.
The wealth is transferred back into the economy of the constituents that financially supported or voted for the Congress critter that sponsored the contract or grant in the first place. It's political corruption!
I know because I worked in the industry.
Me too! But I'd prefer that the money spent on DARPA be used for research and development instead of pork barrel projects.
Of course that gets them the other bazillion bucks to develop a super spin stabilized boomerang camera.
I agree that my RC copter is a better choice. It can fly through doorways,land in a circle AND carry an of the shelf
wireless video camera.
oops of= off
Samn, that thing makes a lot of noise.