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Insect assassin drones? Armed drones choosing targets? What could possibly go wrong?

Insect assassin drones, swarm drone surveillance and armed drones that pick their own targets: What could possibly go wrong?

By Ms. Smith on Wed, 02/20/13 - 9:27am.

Last year, I wrote about the future of drone surveillance and swarms of cyborg insect drones. That article was full of MAV (micro aerial vehicles) that looked like they should be in a B-grade sci-fi flick. In particular, after seeing a freaky video, I'd like to remind you of the U.S. Air Force's bug-sized spies, or "tiny a bumblebees," that would not be detected when flying into buildings to "photograph, record, and even attack insurgents and terrorists."Bumblebee-sized drones could sting and kill a target or work in swarm for surveillance

MAVs: Bumblebee-sized surveillance swarms and assassin drones

Now, imagine those bug-sized spies working in a swarm, each with a specific surveillance mission. Precisely as a bumblebee can sting a person, these tiny bumblebee-sized drones can "attack" and "sting" the target, surely making them the world's smallest assassins. The video said these MAVs could be airdropped or hand-launched. Because of the tiny size, they can "hide" in plain sight. They may be used in missions that last weeks, meaning they would need to "harvest energy" from sunlight, wind, vibrating machinery, or even re-energize off of power lines.

Make sure you take the time to watch the video, and then feel free to freak out at the possibilities. However, these insect drones are not part of Homeland Security's "loan-a-drone" program and the MAVs are not supposed to be deployed against Americans. And if it helps, the video is about 3 years old.

Black Hornet Nano drones

Let's jump back in with what's going on in UK drone development. The Brits are also using tiny surveillance drones, 4 inch by 1 inch and weighing .6 ounces, about the size of a pair of sunglasses, each complete with a tiny camera to relay video and photos. Among its many capabilities, the "Black Hornet Nano" drone can "hover and stare," can "look behind, between and below obstacles," and can obtain a "bird's eye view for situational awareness."

British soldiers in Afghanistan launching Black Hornet Nano UAV to find enemy caches and disturb insurgent supply chains

 Image credit: Ministry of Defence