A UAV to Track Taliban
It may not look a great deal more sophisticated than my
S102G toy chopper, but the PD-100 Black Hornet Personal
Reconnaissance System from Prox Dynamics (www.
proxdynamics.com) was developed for serious employment by
law enforcement, search-and-rescue personnel, and other
government users. It is covered by Norwegian Arms Control
provisions and will be sold "only to government institutions and
organizations," so there's no point in drooling. In fact, it has
recently been adopted by British forces as their latest anti-Taliban tool.
The 8 in long, 15 g molded plastic drone carries
three cameras, and soldiers can pilot it manually or
program it to fly according to battlefield coordinates
using GPS. According to the Brits' Major Adam Foden,
"Black Hornet is a game-changing piece of kit. Previously,
we would have sent soldiers forward to see if there were
any enemy fighters hiding inside a set of buildings. Now,
we are deploying Black Hornet to look inside compounds
and to clear a route through enemy-held spaces. It has
worked very well, and the pictures it delivers back to the
monitor are really clear. And Black Hornet is so small and
quiet that the locals can't see or hear it."
Few specs were provided, but reports have it that the
nanocopter provides up to 30 min of flight time and a
top speed of 20 mph. A complete system includes three
PD-100 units, a controller with LCD display, and a transport case with charger. It is billed as "affordable," but in the military
world, that could mean anything. Presumably, it will not be in the F- 16 range.
The PD-100 Black Hornet from Norway's Prox Dynamics.
And a UAV to Track You
If you are a typical Facebook user, you no doubt keep
your friends and relatives up to date about your fascinating
life with a stream of information about your pet's health,
what you had for breakfast at Denny's, how late you
worked last night, and so on. You may even supplement
that with plenty of photos in case the folks don't actually
know what a Grand Slam breakfast looks like. Do you ever
get the feeling, though, that some people just aren't
getting enough details? If so, then you need MeCam — a
microcopter designed exclusively to follow you around all
day and take streaming videos of your every move.
Developed by San Francisco based Always Innovating
( www.alwaysinnovating.com), the quad-rotor UAV
launches from your hand and navigates either by voice
command or a "follow-me" mode. It then streams the
video to an Android or iOS phone or tablet, so you can
share it via Facebook, YouTube, or another social
networking platform. The good news is that the targeted
MSRP is only $50. The bad news is that the company isn't
actually building any of them; it is only offering licenses to
other entities to produce and sell it. We therefore can't be
sure that it will ever really be available, but a company
press release predicts that the product could "hit the
shelves by the beginning of 2014." We'll see.
The MeCam video 'copter allows you to point and
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