The U.S. military scientists, inspired by nature, created a palm-fitting miniature drone, titled Cicada.
Taking its name from the insect that can thrive for long underground only to spring out in swarms to the open, the micro air vehicle Cicada was designed to carry out missions in remote battlefields, infiltrating perfectly.
The name, besides being inspired by the Cicada insect, stands for Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft and is indicative of what the miniature can do. It can covertly undertake missions thanks to its size. It is unmanned, and at once easily disposable.
In the sky it looks like nothing else than a bird flying. An entire swarm of Cicada miniature drones would prove hard to be taken out if spotted behind enemy lines and one successfully approaching is enough to offer valuable information.
At this point the prototype’s costs raise at around 1,000 dollars. It is hoped that once it goes into serial production the price will drop as low as 250 dollars a piece.
The small paper airplane-like drone doesn’t feature any motor. It is equipped with sensors that adjust the gliding pattern, scheduling the drop zone with an accuracy of a few feet. The gliding is programmed to GPS coordinates and the micro drone is reported to be able to fly as much as 46 miles per hour in utter silence since they feature neither engine, nor propulsion system.
At the same time, the Cicadas have an integrated system of sensors and microphones that undoubtedly will prove useful in military operation. They can gather meteorological data, interpret noise and ground vibration and virtually eavesdrop behind enemy lines.
The miniature drones seem to also be very sturdy. Daniel Edwards, aerospace engineer at the Naval Research Laboratory commented on the aspect:
“They’ve flown through trees. They’ve hit asphalt runways. They have tumbled in gravel. They’ve had sand in them. They only thing that we found that killed them was desert shrubbery.”
Therefore, the new nature inspired Cicada miniature drones will prove an invaluable asset to military operations. Spinoffs will also prove their importance for civilian purposes due to the data gathering sensors.
Image Source: phys.org