Tuesday September 24, 2019
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Cicadas: Miniature drones can spy on enemy troops

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Image Courtesy: Discovery News

By NewsGram Staff Writer

US military scientists have designed a miniature drone, Cicada, which can be used on civil missions and in wars. Cicada stands for Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft.

“The “micro air vehicle” is named after the insect that inspired its invention, the Cicada, which spends years underground before appearing in great swarms, reproducing and then dropping to the ground dead,” according to Discovery News.

AFP reported that it is designed to be smaller, cheaper and simpler than any other robotic aircraft but is still able to carry out a mission in a remote battlefield.

Aaron Kahn, a flight controls engineer at the Naval Research Laboratory, told the news agency, “The idea was why we can’t make UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) that have the same sort of profile.”

“We will put so many out there, it will be impossible for the enemy to pick them all up,” he added.

The prototype model has cost just a thousand dollars, and Kahn also stated that the cost could come down to as low as $250 a piece.

Despite of its small size, the Cicada drone can fly at about 46 miles (74 kilometers) per hour and is fairly silent, as it has no engine or propulsion system.

Daniel Edwards, an aerospace engineer at the Naval Research Laboratory, said, “It looks like a bird flying down,” adding that the drone is “very difficult to see”.

The researchers have said that these miniscule-drones can be used for a multitude of missions, from weather forecasting or monitoring traffic on a remote road, beyond the enemy lines to eavesdropping on enemy troops.

Kahn said, “You equip these with a microphone or a seismic detector, drop them on that road, and it will tell you ‘I heard a truck or a car travel along that road.’ You know how fast and which direction they’re traveling.”

“They are robotic carrier pigeons. You tell them where to go, and they will go there,” Edwards told AFP.

Edwards added that despite their toy-like appearance, the Cicada drones are surprisingly robust.

“They’ve flown through trees. They’ve hit asphalt runways. They have tumbled in gravel. They’ve had sand in them. They only thing that we found that killed them was desert shrubbery,” he said.

The news agency reported that academics and almost every branch of government have expressed an interest in the Cicada program, including some intelligence agencies.

“Everyone is interested. Everyone,” Edwards concluded.

Next Story

West Bengal Government to Use High-Tech Drones for Connecting Critical Patients with Hospitals

Everything is under the thought process and depends on the feasibility study

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West Bengal, Government, Drones
A feasibility study will be taken up to see if aerial robotics can be used to improve the healthcare facility in remote villages. Pixabay

In order to improve healthcare services in the remote areas of the state, the West Bengal government is thinking of using high-tech drones for connecting critical patients with hospitals and to facilitate immediate availability of supplies like blood reports from the labs and so on.

“A feasibility study will be taken up to see if aerial robotics can be used to improve the healthcare facility in remote villages. Everything is under the thought process and depends on the feasibility study. Healthcare is one of the key areas of the Mamata Banerjee government,” said the head of Chief Minister’s monitoring cell, Colonel (retd) Diptanshu Chaudhary.

He said once the idea seems feasible and the pilot project is successful, the government hospitals in areas like Darjeeling, Sunderbans and other remote villages would be equipped with these latest technologies which will add a new chapter to India’s medical history.

West Bengal, Government, Drones
In order to improve healthcare services in the remote areas of the state, the West Bengal government is thinking of using high-tech drones for connecting critical patients with hospitals, Pixabay

“The idea is to help a critical patient during the first four hours and save his life. For instance, if an immediate blood report is needed, drones can be used to get it from the nearest lab in such places,” he said.

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The Chief Minister’s monitoring cell ensures that the marginalised people get the best support as far as the beneficiary schemes are concerned. The body also tries to keep a check on corruption. (IANS)