US to Create Bird-Like Drones for Hostage Recovery Operations

© AP Photo / David TulisA four-engined unmanned aerial vehicle
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The US is working hard on drones that will be able to breeze in windows, fly up the staircase and spot hostages, checking one room after another. These types of UAVs may soon become an integral tool of the US military and law enforcement.

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MOSCOW, January 2 (Sputnik) – The US is heading toward creating a generation of highly maneuverable bird-like pilot-free drones capable of operating inside buildings, The Washington Times reports.

In the framework of the Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is exploring “non-traditional perception and autonomy methods that could enable a new class of algorithms for minimalistic high-speed navigation in cluttered environments,” its official statement reads.

The Agency is planning to analyze flying insects’ and birds’ flight characteristics, for example those of goshawks, and replicate them in drones, thus enhancing their agility and flexibility.

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Moreover, DARPA is expected to program the drones to plot their flight paths by a method other than using GPS waypoints. This old system is prone to jams and, furthermore, needs an instant reaction of the pilot should a drone face an obstacle, Fox News explains. In contrast, these planned UAVs will be able to make decisions instantly and without human interaction.

The new drones will assist military teams, primarily in urban areas, in missions such as hostage recovery, as they will be able to “quickly navigate a labyrinth of rooms, stairways and corridors or other obstacle-filled environments,” the DARPA statement says. This can drastically cut the risk for on-the-ground units. The UAVs will be designed to fly at speeds up to 20m/s, cover a distance of 3,000 feet, and operate for about 10 minutes.

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Moreover, these drones will be able to assist rescuers in disaster relief operations, WXYZ Detroit adds.

The US is paying great attention to drones as an essential technological branch, especially applicable to surveillance. The Navy has been developing the RoboTuna project, which features a fish-looking drone that can extend surveillance of vessels, submarines, and conduct in mine detection, according to Military.com.

 

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