U.S. Military Using Bug-Sized Drones
A micro-aviary of drones that look—and fly—like ladybugs, dragonflies, and other insects. Since 2008, George Huang, professor of engineering at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, has managed to produce a butterfly model with a 5-inch wingspan. “We haven’t done a final version where we declare victory,” Huang says. “I’ll be happy once it’s fly-sized.”
Darpa and the Air Force have already invested in similarly tiny craft, though with no firm time horizon for deployment. Regardless, micro-drones’ potential goes beyond the military. “Police could use them to fly into a drug trafficker’s house,” Huang says. “Or in a nuclear or mining accident, you can send a fly inside to find victims.”
This isn’t the first time hearing about bug-sized drones. In October of 2007, the Washington Post published an article about ‘insect spy’ found on U.S. streets.
No agency admits to having deployed insect-size spy drones but just a few months later the army announced that it gave the massive defense contractor, BAE Systems, $36 million to create micro-drones. The project was completed by 2010.