Technology never sleeps, and neither does a drone – or rather a swarm of Cicada drones, the latest UAV innovation that will be used for both meteorological and military purposes.
This little thing easily fits in your hand, and is capable of a lot of things. It has the ability to predict tornadoes, as its sensors allow for temperature readings of the air, as opposed to the sensors currently used that are ground based. It’s also equipped with instruments that can locate submarines, and pick up sound from its surroundings.
Cicadas in nature are known for hiding underground for years, before they suddenly decide to get up and fly in big swarms, only to reproduce and die. The drone Cicadas will have similar features, as they are intended to be sent out in great numbers and only be airborne for a short while as they perform their tasks before crashing.
The drone contains only ten individual parts, and has no motor or any other propulsion system – it relies completely on its mechanical parts, but is still able to land within 15 feet from its target, even when dropped from a height of 57,600 feet.
The name Cicada stands for Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft, and currently the prototypes cost approximately $1,000 to build. However, Aaron Kahn at the Naval Research Laboratory believes the price tag can end up at $250.
A Cicada drone (almost) never dies – or rather, they can keep up their functions even if they fly through trees, plough through sand or tumble in gravel – they can even hit the asphalt in high speed and keep doing their job. Desert shrubbery, however, is one of the few things that does the trick, if someone really wants to put this type of drone into its unuseful mode forever.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (AUVs) are quickly becoming a big thing, potentially carrying the solution for a number of challenging applications, such as goods transportation and surveillance. It may be that the Cicada drone will be used for a multitude of military operations, however – society is known to adapt new technology at large, often within few years after inventions are released.
Using drones for everyday tasks such as checking the roof for leakages or send snail mail are likely to become as common in the future as any surfpad of today, within a fully reasonable time frame. So, what will you name your household drone?