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The US Army is building drones that never need to land

September 4, 2018

It’s using lasers to power the aerial machines.

The news: According to New Scientist, the US Army is firing lasers at photovoltaic cells on drones to to deliver power from a distance. Eventually they hope to power the devices from 500 meters away.

How it works: The method is similar to the way University of Washington researchers are powering their mini insect robots.

The challenge: The process creates a lot of heat, which could risk melting the drone. And lasers come with additional risks. Last year, defense contractor Lockheed Martin revealed a laser cannon built to shoot drones from the sky. Here’s hoping the military puts the drone laser on the right setting before firing.

This story first appeared in our daily tech newsletter, The Download. You can sign up here.

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