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Nature is way ahead of us here. A flock of a thousand starlings can maneuver together with ease, changing flight plans from moment to moment, and without any central control. The methods they use are remarkably subtle and effective, and researchers are borrowing these from nature to enable multiple UAVs to operate in the same airspace without the risk of collision. Read more: defensetech.org... Defense.org
Another stretch of the Canada-U.S. border is now being patrolled by an unmanned Predator B drone, another step in Homeland Security’s plan to have the planes eventually flying over the longest undefended border in the world.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s office of Air and Marine have announced that a Predator drone plane has begun flights out of Fort Drum, N.Y., at the eastern end of Lake Ontario.
The plane is being deployed to conduct surveillance operations along the maritime border between Ontario and New York state in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway and the border at the Niagara River.
Under Operation Empire Shield, the entire Canada-U.S. border will be eventually be subject to such flights by Predator drone planes.
The Houston Police Department wasn't planning on announcing its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) test program. But when a local news team from KPRC caught the drone on camera on Nov. 16, the department reluctantly released some information, however skimpy. The FAA-approved test took place within a 2-mile radius 45 miles west of Houston, and involved a single fixed-wing drone. The aircraft was remote-controlled from the ground by operators from Washington-based Insitu, Inc., which had also built the UAV.
Now, Insitu has confirmed that the model used in the test was the Insight, a 44-pound, long-endurance drone with a 10.2-ft. wingspan--one that's currently used by both the Marines and the Navy in Iraq.
The Insight can be equipped with a standard electro-optical camera, as well as an infrared camera, mounted on an inertially stabilized turret. This is a straightforward recon drone, able to operate without a runway, using Insitu's SuperWedge Launcher for takeoffs and the company's Skyhook Retrieval System for landings. The Insight aircraft used by the Navy--marketed as ScanEagles--are capable of autonomous flight, but it's not clear whether those functions were part of the recent test in Texas.