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A small pilotless vehicle manufactured by Honeywell International, capable of hovering and "staring" using electro-optic or infrared sensors, is expected to be introduced soon in the skies over the Florida Everglades.
The CIA acknowledges that it developed a dragonfly-sized UAV known as the "Insectohopter" for laser-guided spy operations as long ago as the 1970s. And other advanced work on robotic flyers has clearly been under way for quite some time.
The CIA drone really does look like a real dragonfly – see the photo to the left. The problem was apparently with the flight control system, as the craft could not cope with crosswinds. This type of problem can be solved much more easily with modern electronics. The big issue with a craft so small is the power supply. Until we can get something as compact and efficient as the biological version (and there already ecobots that power themslves by digesting insects), the answer for robotic insects is likely to be beamed power.