Army's New Bird-Like Surveillance UAV
The Army's new Maveric drone is unlike many military UAVs in that it has a convincingly bird-like appearance.
(Army Maveric UAV)
Maveric has a bird-like profile with flexible wings, giving it the appearance of a raptor in flight. The drone, made of composite material, can fly as high as 25,000 feet and zip along at between 20 and 65 mph, making it just the thing for reconnaissance missions. And those super-stealthy guys in Special Operations.
“There was a Special Operations requirement for a plane that had a natural, biological look — it wasn’t supposed to look DoD-ish,” Derek Lyons, vice president of sales and business development at Prioria Robotics, told Flightglobal.
Earlier this fall, the Florida robotics company won a $4.5 million contract from the U.S. Army’s Rapid Equipping Force to produce 36 Maverics for an urgent, but undisclosed, need. Training the Joint Special Operations Task Force to use Maveric started earlier this month, according to Prioria, and fully-equipped delivery is expected in December.
Maveric weighs just 2.5 pounds and can be contained within a 6-inch tube. There’s no assembly required to prepare it for use, and it can be launched in less than 5 minutes by a single soldier. Once it reaches 100 meters, it’s silent to those on the ground. The battery’s only good for about an hour, but it takes just 30 seconds to swap a dead pack for a fresh one and have it ready to fly again. The drone is retrieved with a net.
Science fiction writer Roger Zelazny wrote about robotic birds in his 1980 novel Changeling:
The prototype blue-bellied, gray-backed tracer-bird with the wide-angle eye and the parabola ear followed the dragon-riders north. A series of the larger fliers followed it at well-spaced intervals, to serve as relay points for the spy broadcasts...
(Read more about Zelazny's tracer-bird)
The tracer-bird was used for surveillance.
He saw the blue-bellied, gray-backed thing upon the sill overhead. It was turned as if watching them. A portion of its front end caught the sunlight and cast it down toward them... The tracer-bird followed their every step, hung upon their words...
The Army's Maveric UAV also serves as an eye in the sky, broadcasting high quality video to troops on the ground:
The drone’s retractable gimbaled camera is flexible enough to capture footage from almost any angle, and it is said to be so good it can work in the most inclement weather.
Zelazny has you covered on that feature - and adds something that the Army needs - a wristband viewer:
Mark brushed back the soft green sleeve of his upper garment and pressed several buttons on the wide bracelet he wore upon his left wrist. The bird took flight again, climbing steadily. He controlled its passage with the wristband and saw through its eyes upon the tiny screen in the bracelet's center.
Via Wired; thanks to our friends at Frolix_8 for the tip on this story. (Note also that, even though they were not bird-like, Philip K. Dick wrote about robot tracking devices that were used for optical surveillance in his 1960 book Vulcan's Hammer.)
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/2/2013)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Students Surveilled By School Phone Apps
Cheer up, students. '...cracking my SchoolBook had been easy.' - Cory Doctorow, 2008.
DoD Requests AI Drone Swarm
'She saw into two glassy mechanical lenses, something with a tubelike body...' - Philip K. Dick, 1960.
Chinese Steal American Seeds From Our Fields
'The Iszic maintain a jealously guarded monopoly...'
Zephyr Solar-Electric Stratospheric Drone
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...' - EB White, 1950.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Via Virtual Reality, Mother Encounters Deceased Daughter
'But that barrier was going to melt away someday soon. The transhumanists had promised...'
Clothes That Do Photosyntheisis
'Clothes are no longer made from dead fibers of fixed color and texture...'
Stratuscent Electronic Nose
'It's picking up diphenyl compounds and tetra hydrocarbons.'
CIMON Companion Robot For Space Station Astronauts
'... in some departments their power is absolute.'
Qbit Robot Bartender Also Makes Coffee
'...he sipped the cognac that the robot bartender handed him.'
Moving Desks Not SciFi After All
'Charged with hope, he zipped from stack to stack...'
Cruise Autonomous Car Drives Aimlessly For An Hour
Convincing video shows progress (and limitations).
Fast Charging A Bus In 20 Seconds
'... in almost every town and village.'
Realistic Translation With The Waverly Labs Ambassador
'The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.'
Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.'
Out-Of-Work Blue Collar Robots Need Your Help
'His legs relaxed with a rattle as he cut off all power below his waist... and ran his eye down the Help Wanted - Robot column...'
The Dawn Of Orbiting Manufacturing In 2020?
'It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories.'
Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.'
Segway S-Pod Fulfills Dire 1928 SciFi Prophecy
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...'
Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time
'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'
Airbnb Has AI Psychiatrist Looking At Your Facebook
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories