Scientists at the Delft University of Technology say their unit, dubbed Lisa/S, is the world's smallest autopilot for micro aerial vehicles such as those intended for safety and rescue operations.
At 3/4 of an inch square and weighing just 0.06 ounces, the lighter unit will mean micro aerial vehicles able to stay up in the air longer and carry heavier cameras and sensors, they said.
"Our aim? Make MAVs so small and light that every fireman can fit one in his pocket," project manager Bart Remes said.
"We programmed new software, Superbitrf, that keeps the autopilot connected to a ground station and a normal RC (remote control) transmitter at the same time," he said in a university release Monday.
The researchers said they have made all the details of their work available online to make MAVs easily accessible for all.
"Our aim is to make MAVs as commonplace as smartphones and laptops," Remes said. "Farmers can use MAVs to inspect crops, for example. Our dream is that every fire fighter carries a MAV in his breast pocket to use for inspections of collapsed or burning buildings without having to go inside."