If you have ever set and watched the seeds drop from maple trees in the fall you know the inspiration for the new drone that Lockheed Martin has developed. The maple seeds have a strange single wing design and when they fall from the tree, they twirl their way to the ground in a slow fall not that unlike a helicopter.
Lockheed has created a new unmanned aircraft that replicates the motion of the maple seed over the last five years. The drone is called the Samarai, is about a foot long, and has two moving parts along with a camera onboard. The done can be controlled by an app on a tablet or using a remote control system. The drone can hover in place and take off vertically in tight places.
The drone had its first flight this week, was piloted at a soccer field, and rose to the lofty height of about 30-feet. The idea for the small and light drone is that it would be compact enough for soldiers to carry in the field and for police departments to deploy to see what is over a wall or around a corner. The drones would be carried in a backpack and launched by throwing them like boomerangs.