Bio-inspired micro air vehicles are a hot topic, and getting hotter as technology advances. Now the US Air Force Research Laboratory is considering developing an MAV Collaborative Center, where academia, industry, the Air Force and other DoD organizations can work together to build and test prototypes, and has issued a request for information to identify potential collaborators.
AFRL's plan is to demonstrate a bird-sized MAV in 2015 and an insect-sized MAV in 2030. The bird-like vehicles would carry sensors to detect weapons of mass destruction and would be air-delivered by
a UAV to operate semi-autonomously for a week.
2015: bird-size MAV (Concept: AFRL)
The autonomous insect-like air vehicles would be able to operate indoors as well as outdoors, with the ability to sense WMDs and to detect, track, classify and attack moving targets. To see a video illustrating AFRL's vision for MAVs, go here.
2030: insect-size MAV (Concept: AFRL)
The proposed collaborative center would have the ability to produce initial designs, perform bench testing and "very precisely build, to very stringent specifications" prototypes to evaluate individual technologies and demonstrate integrated systems, says AFRL.
The lab is interested in vehicles with wingspans up to 24in and is looking at hosting the collaborative center at two AFRL sites: The Air Vehicles Directorate at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, for indoor testing in an "aviary"; and the Munitions Directorate at Eglin AFB, Florida, for testing on an outdoor range.