In yet another great step towards insect-size robots Petter Muren, current world record holder for the smallest remotely controlled helicopter, today announced plans for his pocket-size "Black Hornet" helicopter. Built by newly founded Prox Dynamics, the helicopter will weigh in at less than 20 grams, and feature a video camera with wireless transmission to stereo-vision goggles. The ultimate surveillance tool, it will be ready for launch within seconds to give immediate situational awareness to police, fire fighters, military and special forces.
Like Muren's previous designs, the "Black Hornet" will rely on his patented Proxflyer rotor system, centered around a dual coaxial counter-rotating rotor. This design combines a number of advantages making it well suited for surveillance applications, including passive stability, high efficiency and a very low noise level.
Muren's past projects include a series of very small to tiny helicopters (see IEEE video), with his current record holder a mere 70 mm long, weighing less than one gram, equal to 1/5 of a sheet of paper. And Muren has big plans for the future: "Our long term goal is to establish a 2% market share in a US$ 3 billion market, currently growing over 10% per year''. With more than 2 million of his past helicopters sold he means business. The first version of the "Black Hornet" is expected 2009.
Image: Prox Dynamics 2008