A company that uses underlying technology sponsored by DARPA, the military’s tech research arm, has developed a drone that can can fly through doors and windows and relay back high resolution surveillance video indefinitely and without a break in signal.
I’m sure this thing will be weaponized soon and coming to a neighborhood near you.
CyPhy Works unveiled its EASE or “Extreme Access System for Entry” drone this week, explaining that it can go where other drones cannot go for longer, because it is not limited by battery power.
The drone, developed with the aid of federal government grant money, is tethered to a power source by a microfilament, consisting of two strands of copper wire, allowing it to stay powered and never lose communications inside a structure. The drone also carries a thermal imaging camera.
The creator, Helen Greiner, former head of iRobot, which supplied ground robots to the military, notes of the drones “…they won’t be stopped by a fence, won’t be stopped by a ditch. They don’t have to go in through the ground floor or the doorway.”
“They can go in through a window, a second-story window, a third-story window, and when you’re going upstairs you don’t have to worry that the steps obey fire codes so the robot can get up. You’re just flying so you go on up,” Grainer says.
“All the navigation, collision avoidance, mapping, SLAM [simultaneous localization and mapping], all that can be applied to make the air robots more powerful. So we’re trying to bridge the gap between the two. You can kind of think of an indoor flying robot as a ground robot that’s flying.” she adds.
Grainer is referring to DARPA developed technology we highlighted recently that enables drones to autonomously dodge obstacles.
Of course, with the drone business exploding in the US and the FAA about to relax regulations for law enforcement to operate the machines, this represents yet another potential huge threat to privacy and the Fourth Amendment.
CyPhy Works says it has also developed a bigger version of the drone called PARC or “Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications”, which is able to fly up to 1000 feet. The company says it has a “customer pull” from the military to develop and supply the drones.