More and more drones are invading the battlefield, but they tend to feed information up the chain of command rather than helping the footsoldier. That’s true for even the smallest U.S. Army drone, the hand-launched RQ-11 Raven. Now the infantry is about to get a new friend to help them see what’s around the corner or in the next building.
That’s the aim of the Common Lightweight Autonomous Robotic Kit, a new Army project. The first element will be the Soldier Borne Sensor, a miniature helicopter likely to be fielded in small numbers over the next two years and fully rolled out from 2018. The details are in a this RFI document looking for pocket-sized drones able to operate for 15 minutes and provide day or night imaging from 500 meters (0.31 miles) away. The whole kit, including controller, drone, batteries, and carrying pouch, must weigh less than three pounds. The drone itself will have a maximum weight of five ounces. It will be able to fly itself to a given location using GPS to follow a specified set of waypoints.
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Image courtesy of Prox Dynamics