Hummingbird-sized spy plane created

Pocket-size spy plane resembling a hummingbird developed that can enter through a window to be used for battlefield and urban surveillance.

Updated: Feb 19, 2011, 19:03 PM IST

Boston: A California-based company has developed a pocket-size spy plane resembling a hummingbird for the Pentagon that can enter through a window to be used for battlefield and urban surveillance.

The battery-powered `Nano Hummingbird` is the result of a five year effort by AeroVironment Inc, the California-based developer of unmanned aircraft systems. The Pentagon awarded about $4 million dollars to AeroVironment to develop the technology.

The miniaturised drone, industry experts said, is a step towards technology that could produce drones capable of flying through open windows or sitting on powerlines, capturing audio and video while enemies would be none the wiser.

Equipped with a camera, the drone can fly at speeds of up to 11 miles per hour. It can climb and descend vertically , fly sideways, forward and backward, as well as rotate clockwise and counter-clockwise by remote control for about eight minutes.

The `hummingbird` has a wingspan of 6.5 inches and weighs 19 grams – less than an AA battery. It uses only its flapping wings for propulsion and control. Slightly larger than the average hummingbird, the drone contains motors and other communications systems.

PTI