Spy Drones to Hang from Powerlines like Trash

The US Air Force Research Lab is toying with the idea of letting spy drones recharge by hanging on power lines, disguised as garbage. From New Scientist:
In addition, so as not to arouse suspicion, AFRL says the spy plane will need to collapse its wings and hang limply on the cable like a piece of wind-blown detritus. Much of the "morphing" technology to perform this has already been developed by DARPA, the Pentagon's research division. Technologies developed in that program include carbon composite "sliding skins", which allow fuselages to change shape, and telescopic wings that allow lift to be boosted in seconds by boosting a wing's surface area.
Spy planes to recharge by clinging to power lines [New Scientist via Kottke]
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7 Responses to Spy Drones to Hang from Powerlines like Trash

  1. noen says:

    There was a UFO hoax a while back where the supposed UFO was following power lines. Some reports seemed to try to debunk it by saying that the power companies already had devices that drew power from the lines and followed them to check for problems. I have no idea if that is true or not. The UFO was of course, just a photoshoped 3D model. But it’s kind of odd isn’t it? Several months ago we had this UFO hoax and now most of the details turn out to be more or less accurate. Except that it is a gov. UAV instead. I’m not paranoid or anything but that’s weird.

    BTW, most of these UAV’s are platforms that use ducted fans. They can look a lot like traditional UFOs. Whether or not they look like planes they have very good optics. But not to worry, the gov would never abuse that kind of power….

  2. ernie says:

    Each half of the aircraft is designed to resemble and old tennis shoe. The fuselage pieces are joined by an advanced nano-morphic electro-vampiric inducto-tether. The cost to make it appear like an ordinary urine soaked shoelace? $3 billion.

  3. Dillenger69 says:

    That’s SERGEANT Detritus to you!

  4. dargaud says:

    So that’s what all those shoes hanging on the wires are: secret NSA spydrones. I would never have figured it out. Clever !!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    If a farmer puts a grid on the ground below powerlines to capture energy, he will be convicted of stealing. This is no different, but because its the gov’t, hey, no problem!


  6. Dave X says:

    As scary as those things are, I have to admit that this is pretty freakin’ cool.

  7. wurp says:

    So how do these things complete a circuit? Electricity flows based on a difference in electric potential.

    I suppose it could use two half rectifiers, maybe…

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