Coming Soon to a Sky Near You: a Pentagon-Backed “Bat Drone”

By Ryan Gallagher

It’s not quite the Batplane. But a new Pentagon-backed autonomous “bat drone” that can use a long claw to pluck objects off of the ground is ready for deployment.

Earlier this week, California drone developer MLB Company announced that it had completed a project, funded by DARPA, to develop a specialized “V-Bat” unmanned aircraft. Kitted out with high-res cameras and laser sensors, the drone is designed to be used for everything from urban surveillance to wildlife monitoring. It can take off vertically and hover steadily, and it can also fly like a normal winged aircraft at heights of up to 15,000 feet for 10 hours at a time. The V-Bat is able to fly pre-programmed missions using GPS navigation and the DARPA version can search for objects on the ground, which it can pick up with a 6-foot extending claw. Here’s a video of the drone during a test flight:

Last year, DARPA said in a press release that the V-Bat technology “paves the way for precise long-range delivery of small payloads into difficult-to-reach environments.” It is another example of how the U.S. military has invested heavily in developing new drone technology, from stealth unmanned aircraft capable …read more
Source: Future Tense Articles  

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