Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Samarai and Flexrotor UAVs in the news

IEEE Spectrum reports on two of my favorite items, monocopters and tail sitting aircraft: Weird UAV Demos: Lockheed Martin's Samarai and Aerovel's Flexrotor.

I've commented on the Samari monocopter drone a few times over the last three years or so.  It is cool that it can navigate autonomously and that they can stabilize a surveillance camera on it. I know of two other guideable monocopters, a palm-sized one built at UMD and one by Woody Hoburg at MIT.  LockMart's latest version is 3-D printed, has two moving parts and can provide 360-degree video without a gimbal.  I also note that the propeller is on the wing instead of on the counter weighted boom.  Pretty awesome stuff.

The Flexrotor, in true tail-sitter form, takes off, lands and hovers tail down and transitions to horizontal flight.  I think this profile will work better for an unmanned table-top vehicle than for a manned one.