A 1kg (2.2lb) remotely controlled helicopter has been flight-tested by researchers at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology's faculty of computer science using a pocket PC with a three-dimensional map.

Partly funded by an undisclosed Israeli UAV manufacturer, the helicopter has a 40min endurance and uses available Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular networks, including SMS for an emergency location system. The 3D map is a flightpath the helicopter would follow for both exteriors and interiors.

Discussing lessons from the December 2008-January 2009 Gaza strip operation "Cast Lead", an Israel Defence Forces commander told Flight International: "We need to be able to get real-time data from outside and inside potential hiding places."

In the wake of Cast Lead, the IDF has made mini- and micro-UAVs a top priority. The 1kg helicopter is part of an effort to develop more mini- and micro-systems for urban warfare that would allow small units to gain real-time information about hidden enemy forces.

Technion's chief laboratory engineer, Ronen Keidar, told Flight future tests would also use the 3D map to operate the payload for the "right altitude and angle according to mission requirements".

Source: Flight International