back to article DARPA seeks 'perch and stare' spy-fly robot

Pentagon war-boffins have shelled out $4.6m to a noted aerial crazytech firm to develop a spy drone which can "perch" near a target, "stare" at it, then take off again and fly home. Aerovironment Inc, already famous for such projects as the Helios solar-powered crewless wingship, the three-inch bugbot-thopter and the hydrogen …


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  1. Anonymous

    Lewis, you're become progressively more incomprehensible!

    "DARPA*, the US military boffin apparat whose early-afternoon dining policy is strictly extramural"


  2. Matthew
    Thumb Up

    Damn you.

    "the US military boffin apparat whose early-afternoon dining policy is strictly extramural" - you owe me a new keyboard.

  3. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Lewis, you're become progressively more incomprehensible!

    Good aft, Anon. I suggest this:

    1) Read

    2) Think

    3) If necessary, look up 'extramural'.

    Good luck!

  4. Martin Gregorie

    Zero landing speed isn't new

    Zero landing speed is the normal landing method of every free flight competition model, only there its called a dethermalised landing.

    However, its old news for suitable manned aircraft as well. The Fieseler F1i.156 Storch, a WW2 German observation and army liason plane, was well known for having this capability.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    RC Planes

    Hving seen some of the Indoor RC planes capable of prop hanging I dont see perch and take off as being particulary Difficult. check youtube for the vids..

  6. breakfast
    Black Helicopters

    I prefer "Gargoyle" too...

    Given the whole sufficiently-advanced-technology thing I think it would be best if these devices were designed to look like gargoyles, combining effective performance in the field with totally freaking the hell out of anyone who saw them.

    They would quickly become standard issue with the Goth Marines who I have just thought up but may actually be the best military unit ever.

  7. David Rollinson

    @Sarah Bee Re: Lewis, you're become progressively more incomprehensible!

    Are we allowed to post hints, or do you want them to suffer?

  8. Steve
    Dead Vulture

    Double Eh?

    Extramural - taking place outside the walls, a reference to outside the box?

    So they have to dine outside the box? In the early afternoon? Lunch outside the box maybe, or afternoon tea outside the box?

    Am I missing something? Or did you just mean that they go for lunch of site, maybe to a nearby pub?

  9. Chris Harden

    Re: Double Eh?

    "Lunch outside the box maybe"

    So, what's confusing? They eat their lunches out of a lunch box, obviously.


  10. Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear..

    Out to lunch you fools!

  11. Sweep

    Eating lunch out of a box

    Mars Bar Party?

  12. Robin
    Paris Hilton

    Magnets ?

    Perhaps it will hang on to the side of a ship/antena mast/tank/water tower/fridge with a magnet and use a reverse pulse from an electromagnet to pop itself of again.

    If it freely swivelled round the magnet it could stall nose up into the side of a near vertical surface target, gravity would turn it nose down. This would make camera orientation and subsequent re-launch easier if you could find an elevated ferous target.

    First I had the vulture cos it looks like it stalled out to soon. Then I went for Paris cos I bet she swivels freely.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Double Eh?

    Try 'Out to Lunch'

  14. Neil

    Re: Double Eh?

    I think it means they like to make use of the picnic tables outside.

  15. Frank
    Paris Hilton

    @Sweep re.Eating lunch out of a box

    "Mars Bar Party?"

    You missed the Paris icon. I'll do it for you.....

  16. Steven Raith
    Thumb Up


    Thanks for that - I now have to clear my partially masticated lunch from the depths of my keyboard.

    If anyone is unaware of the term mars bar party, might I suggest you don't google it at work...

    Steven R

  17. Frank

    @breakfast re. I prefer "Gargoyle" too

    "...with the Goth Marines who I have just thought up .."

    The Goth Marines along with the Vampire Commandos are a long established division of the New Model Army Of The Undead. I've heard that it's easy to join but no one ever leaves.

    (MIne's the long black leather one.)

  18. Sillyfellow

    cctv with wings?

    hooray, what's next on the menu. CCTV cameras that can follow you around?

  19. Solomon Grundy

    Persistent Stare

    Isn't that a super-power of some Pokemon?

  20. Mike Moyle

    Re: Gargoyle Mode

    While I like the term, technically it's incorrect unless the 'bot in question is spewing water onto the target.

    Gargoyles are, strictly speaking, ornamental drainspouts intended to divert rainwater from the foundations of the building on which they perch. The classic crouching-monster non-drainspout is properly called a "grotesque".

    Perhaps the technique in question could be referred as "Batman" mode, if Warner Bros. will allow.

  21. Bounty


    Balloons/zeppelin or Helicopters. Maybe they're not fast enough or there are range issues?

  22. Bounty


    looking at the specs for the WASP

    5km Line of sight range

    45 minutes endurance

    40-60 km/h (is this a dive speed?)

    1lb, hand launched

    Maybe they can strap a 1 time re-launch rocket on it after a perch landing?

    I'm no flight engineer type, but I think regular electric? RC helicopters can do 30km/h with a 10min range on batteries... which is 5km one way? And these are just normal commercial RC jobs... Looks like the WASP can't fly fast and far on the same trip... (60 km/h * 45 min would be like 45 km so 20 out and 20 back is a lot longer than 5km range) I'd think a well done helicopter (gas maybe) would be a good competitor to this?

  23. James

    Re: Gargoyle Mode

    They might be a bit obvious if they looked like this one:

    I'd love to see that one when it's raining...

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