Tag Archives | Micro Air Vehicles

The Personal Flight Vehicles That Never Became Popular

Did you know that hovercrafts could be this adorable — why did the U.S. military the kibosh on them? In a parallel, tidily retro-futuristic universe, we are all riding our X-Jets and WASPs to work. Via Retronaut:

Nicknamed “The Flying Pulpit”, the Williams X-Jet It could move in any direction, accelerate rapidly, hover, and rotate on its axis, staying aloft for up to 45 minutes and traveling at speeds up to 60 miles per hour. It was evaluated by the U.S. Army in the 1980s, and was deemed inferior to the capabilities of helicopters and small unmanned aircraft.

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Miniature Drones Spray Enemies With ‘Tracking Dust’

Nano Air Vehicle developed by AeroVironment

Nano Air Vehicle developed by AeroVironment

Adam Rawnsley writes for Wired:

Here’s how the U.S. Air Force wants to hunt the next generation of its enemies: A tiny drone sneaks up to a suspect, paints him with an unnoticed powder or goo that allows American forces to follow him everywhere he goes — until they train a missile on him.

On Tuesday, the Air Force issued a call for help making a miniature drone that could covertly drop a mysterious and unspecified tracking “dust” onto people, allowing them to be tracked from a distance. The proposal says its useful for all kinds of random things, from identifying friendly forces and civilians to tracking wildlife. But the motive behind a covert drone tagger likely has less to do with sneaking up on spotted owls and more to do with painting a target on the backs of tomorrow’s terrorists.

Effectively tracking foes has become a high priority — and deeply secret — research effort for the Pentagon, which has struggled at times to sort out insurgent from innocent in places like Afghanistan.

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