Lockheed Martin shows off nature-inspired Samarai handheld drone

Summary:The Samarai drone, inspired by the maple seed, made its public debut at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conference.

Lockheed Martin took its Samarai handheld aircraft for its first public spin as the vehicle, which is 16 inches long and weighs less than half a pound, gets closer to prime time.

The company, which noted that the Samarai is inspired by the maple seed, tested the aircraft at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conference.

According to Lockheed, the Samarai flew in a 40 foot test area, streamed video and demonstrated takeoff and landing. The aircraft is designed for intelligence and reconnaissance missions. Samarai can also deliver payloads.

Samarai is manufactured by printing layers of plastic into a similar form. By printing the aircraft, Lockheed maintains it can keep costs down and customize it.

Kingsley Fregene, principal investigator for Samarai at Lockheed Martin's Advanced Technology Laboratories, said that the aircraft falls into the micro-robots niche.

Here's a video of Samarai's flight:

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Topics: Innovation

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Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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