The shift from the days of ‘oh my, those drones seem awfully intrusive’ to ‘oh, so it’s just going to hang up there forever, watching?’ happened while you slept.
CyPhy Works’ new drone can stay up in the air indefinitely, charging through a specialised microfilament system, meaning the Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications (PARC) flying spy should truly scare you.
“PARC flies itself, so very little user training is required; and when operating the system the user can focus on the data that PARC produces, instead of the system itself,” so says CyPhy.
As impressive a selling point as it is an unsettling proposition, surely.
The drone is tethered to the ground with a long, incredibly thin, wire, powering a device that, due to its immobility, is ideal for two things.
The company expects this device to be used for reconnaissance or as a communications relay, the former proving more troubling than the latter. Although it must be said any surveillance undertaken by devices like this (which the US military use, for example, to monitor compounds) is merely the next step on from constant satellite surveillance.
“It’s basically a robot with unlimited time-of-flight,” said Helen Greiner, the founder of CyPhy Works. “You send it up and it stays there.”
Oh, and if the power being sent up to the drone from the ground is interrupted for some reason, or the wire snaps, it has a back-up battery to work off while it waits to be reconnected.
It can fly, or hover, at anything from 500ft in the air right up to 10,000ft, with the microfilament system carrying power and Ethernet comms from the ground up to the device.
The video it films is full frame rate and HD, too, with night vision and, naturally, the higher it goes the more it can see.
Last month CyPhy raised $22m in funding, helping to finance this commercial release.