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Pentagon-backed `bat drone` ready for deployment

Last Updated: Sunday, March 17, 2013 - 16:09

Wellington: 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 (Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency), to develop a specialised V-Bat unmanned aircraft.

The drone, having high-resolution cameras and laser sensors, 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.

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.

But the V-Bat isn`t only intended for military applications. MLB is selling the drones for about 320,000 USD each and is marketing them for a host of purposes -like agricultural mapping and border patrol.


First Published: Sunday, March 17, 2013 - 16:09
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