Here's some additional details regards to the quad rotor
Daton drone which is apparently going to be used in an
Recent small-scale vtol developments include successful
demonstrations by the Aerovironment Nano Hummingbird.
(Readers are advised to watch the video on the company's
While the subject of micro vertical-lift drones will be discussed
in detail in Armada 5/2011, the quad-rotor Datron Scout featured
on our cover is worthy of a paragraph here. Since its introduction
last year at Eurosatory, the 1.3-kilo Scout has undergone significant
developments to enhance its usability in the defence arena.
As earlier described in Armada, one of the unique features of the
Scout is its quick component snap-on assembly -including payload
and battery - before flight. Conversely, damaged components are
quickly replaced following the same procedure. The second is its
operation, which is simplicity itself, and one that dramatically reduces
the user's learning curve. There is no joystick to fumble with, just
a touch-screen hand-held monitor on which one prepares the mission
using a map of the area. There even is a facility to draw a no-overflight
zone. When all is ready, the drone literally leaps to a height of about
one metre where it stabilises before setting off on the mission.
Although Datron has so far not envisaged such an application, this
strong leaping take-off mode added to the amazing stability of the
aircraft in winds of up 65 km/h (and gusts of 80 km/h) would
theoretically enable the scout to operate from a vehicle on the move
(the rock-steadiness of the platform/gimbal assembly in the hover
can be seen in a sequence in this footage: www.armada.ch/datron-scout
where smoke crossing the screen provides a clear indication of wind
Compared with the configuration featured in last year's Armada Urban
Warfare Compendium (issue 4/2010), the Scout now features carbon
fibre propeller blades for added rigidity, an improved heat sink and a
new gimballed Flir or Video Zoom camera that no longer requires the
transparent plastic dome hitherto used.
The Scout now also runs a new version of its in-house-developed
mission control software, including Zoom Snap that enhances the
resolution of the video by a factor of up to ten, Follow Me, which
as the name implies enables the aircraft to automatically follow
vehicles, and Live Maps that enables the operator to build and store
new map tiles (all is needed is to fly the Scout at a suitable height,
snap a photograph of the ground and the software will impose that
new image over the old, outdated image, to provide accurate,
geographically accurate and real-time map tiles).
As for sensors, the Scout is designed to operate both a Flir Tau 640
infrared camera or a 10x video zoom camera.
Through the use of its new 10x video zoom camera, the Scout will
be able to detect the presence of a person at a range of more than
two kilometres and identify him at 300 metres (a company spokesman
told Armada at the recent Idex exhibition in Abu Dhabi that this feature
also enables one to read a car registration plate number or to clearly
identify if a person in a field carries a tool rather than a weapon).The
camera operates in low-light monochrome and full colour modes and
can snap geo-refer-enced photographs.