UAVs scaling down as action hots up


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are becoming a lot smaller and smarter, as well as easier to fly. Demand for smaller tactical UAVs is surging, particularly for use by the US in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Air2Air, a Canadian company, whose founder Zenon Dragon started out selling radio control toy planes on the Internet, has launched a new breed UAV helicopter.

The six-rotor helicopter, the DraganFlyer X6 has 11 sensors and a built-in SteadyFlight system, which makes the machine relatively easy to fly. It can be hovered at a fixed altitude over a point in a mode called “GPS lock”.

According to the company, a two-day course is sufficient for novices to competently fly the machine.

Video or stills in high definition, low light, or thermal imaging can be provided by an on-board camera. Folded the machine takes up a space of 30 cm by 68 cm and assembled it is 91 cm across and 85 cm in length.

Police in the Canadian province of Ontario fly the machine, and interest in the X6 has been shown by aerial photographers and TV news channels.

In an attempt to make headway into the defence market, the X6 was recently demonstrated at the DSEi show in London. While the DraganFlyer X6 has relatively quiet motors, its battery life, for now, is only 20 minutes.