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HONEYWELL is developing a micro flying spy drone -- that would be used for civilian law enforcement!
The device, a hovering robot carrying video cameras and other sensors, is being created and tested at HONEYWELL's Albuquerque, NM plant.
The first round of testing on the drone [MICRO AIR VEHICLE] has been completed, reports Bob Martin of CBS affiliate KRQE.
The battery powered craft can stay in the air for 50-60 minutes at a time, and moves around at up to 55 kilometers an hour.
The Micro Air Vehicle has flown more than 200 successful flights, including flying in a representative urban environment.
"If there is an emergency, you could provide "eyes" on whatever the emergency is, for police or Homeland Security," explains Vaughn Fulton of HONEYWELL.
In the meantime, the U.S. Army has prepared a promotional video showing the craft zooming over war-zone streets.
Drones have been given to the military to test during training exercises.
"It has the same system most fighter jets would have," explains Fulton.
The vehicle, nicknamed "Dragon Eye," will be used for reconnaissance, security and target acquisition operations in open, rolling, complex and urban terrain; it will be equipped with Global Positioning Satellite.
HONEYWELL and government officials are meeting to discuss the status of the project.
Troops in Iraq could get the craft in a year or two.
The spy drone would be deployed for domestic use shortly thereafter.
A flying video camera could soon be part of a soldier's field gear--just the sort of thing you need if you want to know whether there's someone around the corner with a grenade launcher.
Electronics giant Honeywell is testing the Micro Air Vehicle, a flying robot with two cameras that deliver live video feeds to soldiers on the ground. Designed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, it stands about 17 inches tall on its landing gear and can be carried in a backpack.
"It is designed to fly between ground level and 500 feet, but it could go up to 10,500 feet," said Vaughn Fulton, program manager for unmanned aerial systems at Honeywell. "It is a scout and reconnaissance type of vehicle. It allows people to see over a hill or around a building."
The vehicle can take off from a standstill and then hover or fly. Unlike a helicopter, which uses a propeller to take off and hover, Honeywell's drone is a ducted air vehicle. A large fan, situated parallel to the ground, draws air in to give the unit lift. An onboard computer then tilts the fan to achieve forward motion.
"The fan is not propelling it through the air but sucking it," Fulton explained.