LONDON (Reuters) - British scientists are studying the mechanics of insect flight in their development of a tiny spy aircraft no bigger than a bee. "We are looking for the most efficient way of flying, and the rapid flapping of a flexible wing is one of these," said Dr. Ismet Gursul, head of the aerospace research group at the University of Bath.
"In this respect we are imitating nature and
the flight of insects and birds," he added in a statement.
The micro-planes could send back detailed video footage of battlegrounds and avoid the need for human scouts to risk their lives."
They could also land on the roof of enemy vehicles and mark them for future attack or as carriers of chemical or biological weapons, the university added.
Aside from military tasks, the tiny planes could also be used for wildlife surveys, fire and rescue operations and hazardous substance detection.
The researchers said they were still working on the aerodynamics and that a prototype would follow in a couple of years if the research is successful.
"The scientific knowledge of aircraft flight does not apply easily on a small scale and scientists do not have a full understanding of the stamina of a bee or the agility of a butterfly," the statement added.