British Army trialing "heavy-duty" Bug nano drone
Drone company UAVTEK has collaborated with BAE Systems to deliver 30 prototypes of the Bug nano drone to the British Army for field evaluations. Weighing 6.91 ounces (196 g), the Bug is designed to operate in winds of up to 50 mph (80 km/h).
One of the remarkable things about the burgeoning drone market is the wide variety of functions, shapes, and sizes it encompasses. At one end of the scale are ever larger UAVs designed for reconnaissance, combat, and even launching small satellites. At the other end are tiny craft, like the Bug, designed for tasks like acting as a pocket-sized recon unit that the average foot soldier can deploy in a moment.
Making a drone tiny isn't that hard. The hobby and toy shelves are full of these. What's difficult is making the UAV smart enough to carry out its mission, with enough endurance to get to the target and back, and tough enough to stand up to rugged field conditions and bad weather.
The Bug is about as heavy as a smartphone, has a range of 1.25 miles (2 km) and a battery life of forty minutes. It can hit speeds of 80 km/h (22m/s), send vision back to multiple devices and handle winds of 35 knots, gusting to 45 knots, which according to BAE, made it the only nano-UAV to get through the inclement weather at the recent Army Warfighting Experiment (AWE) event in the UK.
The next step will be to improve the Bug by adding sensors and integrating it with other military gear.
“In even the toughest weather, the Bug can deliver vital tactical intelligence on what’s around the corner or over the next hill, working autonomously to give troops a visual update," James Gerard, Principal Technologist at BAE Systems’ Applied Intelligence business. "Combined with our other information advantage products, this video feed could be shared multi-domain, enabling commanders on land, sea and air to increase their situational awareness and inform their decisions."