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Lockheed Martin shows off nature-inspired Samarai handheld drone

Lockheed Martin shows off nature-inspired Samarai handheld drone

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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:

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Larry Dignan

Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan is editor-in-chief of SmartPlanet and ZDNet. He is also editorial director of TechRepublic. Previously, he was an editor at eWeek, Baseline and CNET News. He has written for WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, New York Times and Financial Planning. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Delaware. He is based in New York but resides in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure