By Rob CockerhamPosted 10.28.2010 at 11:59 am 19 Comments
When I was invited to test-fly SenseFly's Swinglet surveillance drone, I was ecstatic. It was an assignment suitable for James Bond: check out a programmable, unmanned platform for taking surreptitious aerial photos.
Under the guidance of the company's representative, I unpacked the drone, programmed it with a spy mission, and sent it aloft to survey the neighborhood. You can learn some very interesting stuff by observing from your own private low-altitude spyplane, it turns out.
Boeing’s spyplane development wing won an $89 million contract this week to build the SolarEagle unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, designed to fly continuously for five years at 65,000 feet.
As the winner of Darpa’s Vulture II program, the plane really only has to fly for one to three months by 2014, however.