The company: Monrovia, Calif.-based AeroVironment.
The product: the "Nano Hummingbird."
The client: the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.
AeroVironment announced on Wednesday that it is developing this "nano air vehicle" with help from a DARPA-sponsored research contract with hopes to develop a new class of aircraft for reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities in urban environments, indoors or outdoors.
The Nano Hummingbird:
- Can hover precisely and stably -- even in wind gusts of five miles per hour -- for eight minutes on its own power.
- It can transition between hovering and a forward trajectory of 11 miles per hour.
- It can fly through a standard-size doorway.
- It can fly indoors in "heads-down" mode, for which the pilot operates the aircraft without actually seeing it, using only the live video stream captured by it.
- Has a bird-shaped body and bird-shaped wings spanning just 6.5 inches. It weighs about two-thirds of an ounce.
The company specializes in UAVs such as this one, also named for members of the Animal Kingdom: Wasp, Raven and Puma.
Here's a video of it in action: