Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

Since the 1970s, the U.S. military has used unmanned airplanes to see behind enemy lines. But each of these “drones,” which cost upwards of $15 million apiece, provides strategic intelligence only to top-ranking officials. Real-time surveillance information rarely makes it to the commander on the battlefield’s front line. The Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory is on the verge of changing that.

In collaboration with the Naval Research Laboratory, the Marine Corps plans for the first time to deploy miniature, autonomous unmanned air vehicles. Each of the 73-centimeter, 1.9-kilogram spy planes-dubbed Dragon Eyes-will carry an infrared imager, a wireless communications link and Global Positioning System software. Field soldiers will be able to assemble the five-piece plane on the spot, program the flight path, launch the craft with a flick of the wrist and view a real-time video image of enemy territory. The Marine Corps will hold field trials in the first half of 2002. Full-scale production of 1,000 units should begin by early 2003.

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Tagged: Communications

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me