an interesting lifting body design for a MAV (Micro Air Vehicle) by Theiss Aviation. Its autopilot uses thermopiles, so you won't be using it indoors.
From Robot Living
"The new model TIC costs around $6,000 and can potentially be launched from the trunk of a car. It contains chemical as well as biological sensors and could also be outfitted with a small color camera. These vehicles are designed to fly in ventilation shafts, tunnels, small quarters and even dense woods. Using a 72 MHz radio, the TIC has a range of 1.5 miles and can be run in basic radio controlled mode, auto assist mode or completely autonomously.
Theiss Aviation is now seeking to sell these aircraft to police departments, search and rescue crews or other emergency personnel.
Unfortunately the FAA seeks to treat these tiny craft just like regular planes.
The owners of a TIC must register the aircraft with the FAA and give 60 days notice of flight plans to the FAA."
more about Shawn Theiss, from Fortune Small Business, discussing the regulatory problems for UAV entrepreneurs. We should have him on as a podcast guest!
"Here's what every TIC owner must do to be certified: submit detailed drawings of every part of the plane, wait three months, answer any FAA questions, then wait another month for a registry number.
Finally, the tiny drone must be cleared to leave the ground by FAA officials every time it flies. For drones, most flight plans must be filed 60 days ahead of time.
"The size of the unmanned air system doesn't matter," says Alison Duquette, an FAA spokesperson. "Any size could pose a danger to private or commercial planes." Also, officials point out, the TIC is too small to be tracked via radar.
Critics argue that the agency is being squeamish about a technology that would help public safety more than harm it.
"Small unmanned planes are not rocket science," says Dave Nestic, entrepreneur in residence at JumpStart TechLift Advisors, a Cleveland incubator that studies the propulsion market.
Theiss, stymied in his bid to sell to anyone but the military, is still fuming. The FAA is "not aviation-minded," he says. "It's regulation-minded."