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Roger 04-29-2006 09:43 AM

The Autocopter
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The Autocopter made by Neural Robotics Incorporated (NRI)

The AutoCopter is a self-stabilized unmanned mini-helicopter that can be used as an aerial platform in the sky. Applications include aerial photography, surveillance, pipeline and utility line inspection, convoy escort, and mine detection. For those wanting to perform aerial photography the helicopter will maintain stability and position at any altitude up to its design limit of 7000 MSL. Payload capacity 15-20 pounds, depending on configuration.
The company's patented neural network-based flight control algorithms provide "intelligence" to the system. The operator, without any helicopter piloting experience, can maneuver the helicopter (via the joysticks on the transmitter) forward, backward, sideways, and vertically. Basic avionics consist of a PC/104 computer, attitude & heading reference system, GPS receiver (WAAS compatible), and heading-hold gyro. An optional Ground Control Station (GCS) permits remote mission planning and real time telemetry.

Aerial Photography - aerial survey and inspection of real estate properties, landmarks, etc...
Law Enforcement - aerial surveillance, support of SWAT activities
Search and Rescue - grid search over land and water for survivors
Agriculture - aerial survey of farmlands with infrared cameras to analyze crop data
Military Operations ? Convoy escort, mine detection, urban combat
Homeland Defense ? port and border patrol
Delivery in Remote Areas - delivery of goods to remote locations
Television - traffic monitoring, news event coverage
Utility Companies - aerial platform for power line inspection
Movie Companies - location development, aerial shots, stunt imager

AutoCopter Gunship - Weaponized with AA12 Assault Rifle:
AutoCopter Gunship - an AutoCopter was configured with an AA12 assault rifle, made by Military Police Systems, Inc. (CEO - Jerry Baber), and was tested on the ground, in the air with an RC pilot, and in the air with the autopilot. Testing is expected to continue over the next few months.
The AA12 assault rifle is an automatic 12 gauge weapon that can fire a clip with 8 rounds or a circular clip with 20 rounds at approximately 6 rounds per second.
Although the current AutoCopter is a "Commodity Control List" (CCL) UAV, and has only been sold in this form to
date, NRI does have the capability of modifying it to fit the payload needs of our customers. The following video shows the NRI AutoCopter modified and weaponized with a fully-automatic shotgun. Be advised however that if the AutoCopter is modified in any way to fit a payload that is listed on the U.S. Munitions List (USML) then the
entire commodity is subject to the licensing jurisdiction of the Department of State in accordance with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (22 CFR 120 through 130).

More infos here:

TJ 04-29-2006 11:20 AM

Great photos
Those will be added to the new site for sure.

Roger 04-29-2006 11:31 AM

I'm pleased if you like... :cool:

PT-The Italian Commie 04-30-2006 02:45 PM

Some issues about the concept.
I had seen it already on DEFENSEREVIEW, an unmanned-automated remote-controlled flying device armed with a light automatic weapon is a nice (and a bit futuristic) concept for short-range recon, engaging of small enemy units, and area-denial and area-patrol/defense operations (think about an high-security perimeter like a nuclear power plant or a secret experiment center stranded in the middle of nowhere that's patrolled by these little cute bots...).

But the concept poses some problems.
#1: At the current state, the bots (if we can call them such) need to be remote-controlled by a human operator. Can the operator always be at range to ensure proper control of the bots? (Read: does the remote control system ranges enough to prevent the bots that are, for example, in pursuit of an escaping enemy Sapper team, to go out of range and crash? A big problem since the enemy could capture an almost-intact one and take it back to their Intel to worm its secrets out). Plus: does every single bot requires an individual operator? If yes, this is another problem to face (imagine a testing ground that has a wide perimeter to be guarded, this calls for some dozens of bots, and THIS calls for a control room with dozens of operators). Can the bot(s) all toegether be controlled by a computer? If yes, do we already have (and if not, in how much time can we achieve) a computer with enough A.I. to control these drones? And how do we deal with the fact that they may mistake a friend or a stranded civilian for an intruder or an enemy and slaughter him?

#2: At the current state, these drones are "weaponized" with a weapon that has 12-rounds clips or 20-rounds drum magazines. Now, imagine if all the drones patrolling a certain high-stack area are required to direct towards the main gate, that's just been crushed by a Kamikaze tank truck full of explosive like happened to the Italian base in Nassiriya in November 2003, and take it out before it is sent to crash against the main installation. For a drone that might be tasked with such an operation, the capacity given today by the employed technology is WAY too little; we are talking about something that might be required to unload HUNDREDS of rounds against a wide, moving target that has lots of inertia on its side, and stop it before it is too late. With 20 12-gauge rounds? Not even if them are explosive shells! When 19 Italians died on such an attack to the Italian "Maestrale" ("Mistral") base in Nassiriya, on 11/12/2003, what theguard soldiers actually did was to shoot dead the truck driver when it crushed the gate. This didn't stopped the vehicle: lots of speed when it arrived, lots of mass, equal lots of inertia. Tho accomplish such a task, the drones need MUCH more powerful weapon than a 12-gauge. My suggestion would be a specifically-designed, belt-fed machinegun chambered for something like 300 - Winchester Magnum or 338 - Lapua Magnum. The machinegun should be a 3-rotating-barrelled, Gatling-operated system with a feeding belt housed in a container that allows every single drone to carry from 600 up to 5000 rounds per time. I know that is weight added to the structure and would prevent it from flying, and that we have to calculate the effect of the recoil on the flight of the drone, but we have to find a solution to this problem, if we don't want to find ourselves crossing our fingers and hoping for the best when such an armed drone will be the only thing standing between a nuclear power plant and a tank truck filled with explosive launched at 100 MpH.
If the drone is instead used only as an anti-personnel surveillance system, then the solution would be a small automatic weapon firing pistol-caliber ammunitions (.9x19mm, .40-S&W, .45-ACP, or even something more powerful and punchie like .10mm-Auto or revolver cartridges: .357-Magnum, .44-Magnum, .30-Carbine...), or some HV rounds like .5'7x28mm-FN or .4'6x30mm-HK, or even .5'56x45mm-NATO: small calibers that would allow a HUGE ammunitions capacity and enough punch to bring down a dismounted human enemy target. The 12-gauge cannon as prototyped today would be good too, but the ammunitions capacity issue remains unsolved then.
Ammunitions capacity is important also because, remember, when the drone runs out of ammo it must be called back to base for reloading, and sometimes you just can NOT allow yourself to have one less gun out there.

#3: Fuel distance. What if a group of such drones is sent after an enemy patrol that has, let's say, gathered some Intel informations that must NOT end up in the hands of their commanders, or if them are sent in a medium-to-long-distance recon operation to locate hiding/approaching enemy units or traps along the way for an incoming ground force? A simple fuel tank is not enough.

Any possible response to such problems? You might say that such questions are "pointless" since the use of this drone, as conceived today, is for very short range operations and that it is "weaponized" for pure self-defense. But the use of such drones in actual security/recon operations is around the corner as for technology capabilities, and taking the opportunity today would mean to save a lot of lives in the near future.

Roger 04-30-2006 11:45 PM

I have uploaded the video of the AutoCopter in action (test) and you can download this video here (27,4 Mo):

The Autocopter endurance is 50 minutes, the engine is a gazoline twin cylinder 80cc. But you are right, it's a prototype.

For shotgun ammunition there are the 3-inch FRAG-12 grenade rounds (since the AA-12 is currently being modified to function with this round) at 300 RPM (rounds-per minute). If the enemy is inside a car or light-armored vehicle, the operator can fire on that vehicle with 20 armor-piercing (AP) FRAG-12 rounds (capable of penetrating up to 1/2 of rolled homogenous steel), or a combination of AP and HE (High-Explosive) rounds--and, he can engage the enemy out to 200-300 yards (according to our understanding), especially while firing from an elevated position (unconfirmed/unverified). The high-explosive (HE) FRAG-12 round will punch through a standard vehicle's skin, and explode inside the vehicle, releasing 90 ball projectiles at very high velocity in all directions, shredding the occupants. The FRAG-12 round can also be used to engage targets inside buildings.
There are three members of the FRAG-12 munition family: the FRAG-12 High Explosive (HE), FRAG-12 High Explosive Fragmenting Antipersonnel (HEFA, or HE-FA), and FRAG-12 High Explosive Armor-Piercing (HEAP, or HE-AP).

PT-The Italian Commie 05-01-2006 07:14 AM

FRAG-12 ammunitions.
Nothing that wasn't already to my knowledge... as a concept, it is similar to the 40x46mm-SR HELLHOUND/HUNTIR/DRAGO super-high-explosive developed by MEI - Martin Electronics Inc. for the Milkor MGL-140 (a.k.a. the M32-MGL in the USMC designation as it was officially adopted last January and its procurement is going on). It is a new spawn of hyper-lethal ammunitions that should give to an infantry squad enough firepower to sweep clean an area from hostiles. But this doesn't solves ONE praticular issue that I have pointed out. Although the FRAG-12 will be good in killing hostiles even when hiding behind a solid repair like a vehicle or a building, this will -NOT- stop a Kamikaze attack; just like the Italian soldiers can witness, shooting the driver dead is not enought to halt a tank truck full of explosive launched at high speed against a military compound; the vehicle has way too much inertia to stop. The drone must thus be weaponized with something that allows it to inflict fast and severe engine damages to stop immediately a runaway vehicle.
Any ideas of a good possible armament for the Autocopter, which -IS- a good concept and will turn handy once it will be developed in a definitive commercial version, are gladily accepted.

Roger 05-01-2006 08:10 AM

...this will -NOT- stop a Kamikaze attack...

Why do you want absolutely stop a Kamikaze attack WITH the Autocopter ? :D

UZI4U 05-02-2006 04:19 PM

Now this is funny, I actually knew the guys at NRI, back when they had just started working on this thing. :D

PT-The Italian Commie 05-04-2006 06:30 AM


Originally Posted by Roger
Why do you want absolutely stop a Kamikaze attack WITH the Autocopter ? :D

I do -NOT- want to "absolutely stop a Kamikaze attack with the Autocopter". It's an eventuality to take attention upon. If the Autocopter is to be made for military and public safety uses, then it has to be able to stop a Kamikaze attack if it's the case. The first rule in counter-terror is to leave nothing to chance (and even that, sometimes it isn't even enough), so if NRI is going to implement the Autocopter for heavy-duty uses, at least they have to make so that it isn't some half-assed 100-grands flying toy.

Not mentioning the fact that using an effective drone against Kamikaze attacks will help to save A LOT of lives, In Primis those of the soldiers who often die in the attempt to stop a Kamikaze, and maybe even fail in the attempt because their individual weaponry isn't powerful enough (again, rule #1 in stopping a Kamikaze attack: shooting dead the driver through the windshield will be NOT enough to stop the vehicle, especially if it is big and launched at high speed, because it will develop an enormous inertia energy; the key factor for effectively stopping such attacks is BOTH to shot the driver dead AND cause to the vehicle some severe tire or engine damage that stops it as fast as it's possible).

Mk23 05-06-2006 06:18 AM

Stop a kamikaze truck?
I think this'd be a good platform to use all those AT4s that'll go into storage when the SRAW replaces it.

Or even any M72 LAWs that are gathering dust in a warehouse somewhere.

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