At noon on Aug. 16 and 17, Lockheed Martin’s Samarai UAV will take flight at AUVSI North America 2011 in the air demo area.
Samarai was developed by the Advanced Technology Laboratories (ATL) in Cherry Hill, NJ. Inspired by the descent of maple seeds that float down from trees each season, the team decided to improve on the simplicity and stability provided by evolution for guided flight.
“We have taken the shape and design of a maple seed and harnessed it with intelligent flight controls and tavionics,” said Bill Borgia, director of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory at Lockheed Martin ATL. “The design is incredibly simple, making Samarai quite affordable even in small quantities.”
Samarai’s vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) system has only two moving parts and inherent 360 degree sensing without using a gimbal. The vehicle is less than 40 centimeters long and weighs only about 200 grams. The rotation of the entire UAV allows omni-directional sensing using simple optical, laser, or acoustic sensors without complex mechanical actuators.