AeroVironment unveils the Shrike Vertical Take-off and Landing Unmanned Aircraft System
AeroVironment has unveiled its latest Unmanned Aircraft System, the 'perch-and-stare' Shrike quadrocopter (Photo courtesy AeroVironment, Inc.)
California-based aerospace company AeroVironment has developed some fascinating Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) over the years, including the High Altitude Long Endurance Global Observer, a hummingbird-like nano air vehicle, and the hand-launched Wasp III reconnaissance platform. In 2008, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded the company US$4.6 million in funding to develop a "perch-and-stare" aircraft, for use in military surveillance. Today, AeroVironment unveiled the result - the Shrike Vertical Take-off And Landing (VTOL) UAS.
The Shrike is a quadrocopter equipped with a high-resolution video camera, that can transmit real-time encrypted footage to remote human operators. It can hover in place very quietly for up to 40 minutes, but also has the ability to land (or "perch") in discrete locations, from where it can transmit for several hours. When it's done, it can simply take off vertically, and fly back to its base.
The UAS weighs about five pounds (2.27 kg), and is small enough to be carried in a backpack. It is remotely operated through AeroVironment's Ground Control System, which is already used by the company's other aircraft.
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An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.
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So, OK, is it fair for us to use this technology against insurgents?
OK, think about this Obama-led government using this technology to sniff around our neighborhoods? What would you do to resist a government employing such shrike harpies? Most of us would opt to die rather than submit, probably. Something of the same thing happened to Dixie when Lincoln decided to man war forts in our peaceful Southern harbors. Most of us did die back then. So ask yourself this: when will Afghanistan be punished enough for their attacks against us on 9-11? I, personally, would like to see its end.
Oh well, call in an airstrike, see if I care.
I highly doubt that this will ever end. The majority of human population do NOT want war but nevertheless do nothing to enforce their views. And \'majority principle\' doesn\'t always work, especially in our technological age, where the rich can protect themselves from the sheep by use of almost indestructible gizmo\'s, remote-controlled UAV\'s with cameras, weapons, etc.
Drake\'s formula comes into mind..
As long as these loonies continue to blow people up, enforce their views upon their own countrymen, deny rights even of education to their womenfolk, and stone people to death, then we\'ll need to use this wonderful technology. Bring it on!
The cops can spy on you right now with their helicopters and airplanes. This only allows them to do it cheaper, a lot cheaper. Which waists less of your tax dollars. If a manned police helicopter crashes in your neighborhood, it kills at least 2 cops on board, maybe some people on the ground and causes millions in damage. all of which must be paid for with your tax dollars. If this thing crashes, who the hell cares? There is no damage and your taxes aren\'t wasted. This thing does not increase the polices ability to invade your privacy anymore than they can right now.
But don\'t worry, it can fly when it\'s windy anyway.
Brookstone has been selling a quadricopter with an onboard video camera for some time. It is controlled with an app that runs on an iPhone, or iPad. It probably cost less than the AeroVironment unit to develop and is certainly less expensive to buy and operate. I\'ve seen them flying around airport concourses and they are incredibly stable and maneuverable. One flew beside me as I was walking to my gate at the Phoenix airport. DoD should spend more time at toy stores and less time dealing with high priced defense contractors.
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