AeroVironment's handheld UAV wins Popular Science award

AeroVironment's handheld and hand thrown unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has won Popular Science's award for the Best of What's New in Aviation and Space. The Wasp UAV is the smallest aerial vehicle in used by the United States military, weighing less than one pound and has a wingspan of 1.3 feet.

Soldiers can either throw the Wasp to get it airborne or they can use a bungee cord launcher, commonly called a wrist rocket in layman's terms.

Afterwards the aircraft can fly up to 1000 feet above ground and four km away at 40 to 60 km/hour. Soldiers can guide it manually operated or can program it to follow GPS navigation. A rechargeable battery lasts up to 30 minutes of flight time.

Normally, the aircraft is flown in advance of ground units to scout out urban and mountainous terrain. The Wasp transmits wireless video and still pictures to intelligence staff on the ground.

The Wasp can also be used in civilian applications like geological surveying or water supply security.