World's Smallest UAV Weighs 10 Grams, Flaps Like a Bird

Illustration for article titled World's Smallest UAV Weighs 10 Grams, Flaps Like a Bird

AreoVironment is building the world's smallest UAV, called the Nano Air Vehicle, that has moving wings instead of a propeller or engine. DARPA has given the company $636,000 and six months to demonstrate an ultra-small UAV that will be under three inches long and under 10 grams.


The concept for the project came about through a $1.7 million "Phase One" brainstorming contract. Apparently unaware of the existence of birds, DARPA decided that this innovative and classy new idea was worth pushing through to development and handed over the second wad of cash this week. The Nano Air Vehicle is part of an apparent trend toward smaller and smaller UAVs, following AreoVironment's 80 gram, six inch Black Widow and Prox Dynamics' four inch, 20 gram Black Hornet (which, thanks to the less literal-minded people at PD, does not fly like an actual insect). [Ares] -By John Herrman



I was one of the authors of the DARPA proposal when I was at my last company. Some of DARPA's requirements for the program were pretty difficult to say the least!

This is actually being developed by a consortium of companies (and a couple of universities), although Aerovironment (not "AreoVironment") are the lead.