I'm still a little fuzzy on the advantage of the "maple-seed" style monocopters, but BotJunkie has an update on Lockheed Martin's Samurai UAV:

"We heard some rumors back in 2009 that Lockheed Martin’s SAMARAI UAV project had been killed off. In fact, Lockheed Martin themselves apparently confirmed that they had stopped developing the UAV since AeroVironment won DARPA’s nano air vehicle development contract to put some polish on their robot hummingbird. So, I’m not entirely sure what the background to this video is, but it shows a much more recent (and smaller, with a wingspan of only 12 inches) version of the SAMARAI.

The SAMARAI is certainly simple (at least, compared to AeroVironment’s UAV), and as the video shows, you can just chuck it into the air, and it can land on the ground and then take off again without needing much in the way of space or infrastructure. On the other hand, I’m not sure exactly how you’d go about mounting something like a camera on a spinning airframe (maybe sync the shutter speed with the rotation speed?), and in order to operate effectively indoors, the SAMARAI would benefit from some level of resilience to impacts. At this point, it seems as though a collision with a wall or doorframe would probably knock the SAMARAI a tad askew, causing it to spin out of control and decapitate everyone in the room.

Or maybe that’s a feature."

[Paper on the project]

Views: 322

Comment by Colby sts on May 14, 2010 at 6:40pm
yah whats the advantage of them? they are noisy as hell. i guess the vertical take off and land?
Comment by Victor Maldonado on May 15, 2010 at 7:29am
I actually know the guy on the video! I worked on this project during an ainternship at Lockheed Martin ATL during the summer of 2007. The monocopter is eventually supposed to be a nano air vehicle (with a 3 inch rotor), this is just a much larger feasibility demonstrator which we flew as shown on the video. I don't know the status of the project, if it's still being funded or not, but it was certainly a fun and challenging project to work on!
Comment by Theodoric Hrodeber Roland Alia on May 15, 2010 at 8:29pm
How does this thing work?
Comment by FlyMario on May 18, 2010 at 3:45pm
That is the goofiest flying craft I have ever seen. Keeping that stable would be a fun challenge though I suppose.

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