The following is an excerpt from Shubham Sharma | June 25, 2018 | ibtimes.com |
Launched by more than 30 agencies, these robotic birds look like living, breathing chicks from the surface. They recreate the motion of flapping wings, which helps them fly at speeds around 40kmph, climb as well as turn in the air.
This, as the report described, not just eliminates the need for conventional rotors that help keep a UAV up in the air but also aids the idea of evading human and even radar detection. One of the researchers who worked on the spy system noted that these drones mimic 90 percent motion of the real bird and are so quiet that even real birds fail to recognize them as different and fly alongside.
The program, codenamed “Dove," is currently surveilling at least five Chinese provinces, with a majority of the focus being on the Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region, which shares borders with five countries — Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.
While it is far from countrywide adoption, the initial testing and use of the spy birds have shown that the technology is promising, particularly for military uses. Each robotic bird weighs around 200 grams and uses a flight control system with sophisticated cameras, GPS antennas, and a satellite data link to transmit the observational data in real time.
“The scale is still small,” Yang Wenqing, an associate professor at China’s Northwestern Polytechnical University and a member of the team behind “Dove” program, told SCMP. “We believe the technology has good potential for large-scale use in the future … it has some unique advantages to meet the demand for drones in the military and civilian sectors."
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