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 US$636,000 and six months to demonstrate an ultra-small UAV that will be under 7.5cm long and under 10 grams.
The concept for the project came about through a US$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 though to development and handed over the second wad of cash this week. The Nano Air Vehicle is part of an apparent trend towards smaller and smaller UAVs, following AreoVironment's 80 gram, 15cm Black Widow and Prox Dynamics' 10cm, 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