Holy Miniature Spy Planes, Batman!

So you’ve got a tiny “electric motor-powered micro air vehicle (MAV)” which you want to use for extended spy missions, but its one-meter frame doesn’t give you much in the way of batteries. What do you do?

Steal electricity from powerlines.

[Air Force Research Lab]’s initial aim is to work out how to make a MAV flying at 74 kilometres per hour latch onto a power line without destroying itself or the line.In addition, so as not to arouse suspicion, AFRL says the spy plane will need to collapse its wings and hang limply on the cable like a piece of wind-blown detritus. Much of the “morphing” technology to perform this has already been developed by DARPA, the Pentagon’s research division.

Test flights are planned for 2008.

~ by Gabriel Malor on December 21, 2007.

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