India is planning an expansion of its micro air vehicle research after a decade that saw spending of $500,000.
The work to date has produced prototype fixed, rotor and flapping-wing MAVs with further work needed on a range of enabling technologies including navigation, power supply and launch and recovery.
Related government-funded research that could be applied to MAVs includes India's National Aerospace Laboratories' work on DC micromotors, lithium ion batteries, fuel cells and microwave energy sources. It is also working on microturbines that could be used for MAVs as small as 150mm (5.9in) across. Research on fluid flow through micro channels at the Indian Space Research Organisation was also identified as having MAV applications.
"I think we can now demand a bit more [than $500,000]. From this small thing [MAVs] a useful thing can be done," says Indian government advisor VJ Sundaram, speaking on 11 March at the first US-Asian demonstration and assessment of micro aerial and ground vehicle technology conference, held in Agra, India.
The Indian defence research organisations first supported MAV concepts in 1998. A study of MAVs was initiated in 2002 and a "national perspectives" report was produced in April 2003.
A decision to develop MAVs was taken in 2005 and in the same year there was an US-Indian workshop on the technology. A fixed-wing MAV project was proposed in 2006 and last year India held its first MAV competiton in Agra.