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Drones: British Army is testing autonomous ‘bugs’ that can fly in strong winds and spy on enemies

Drones: British Army is testing autonomous ‘bugs’ that can fly in strong winds and spy on enemies

Autonomous flying 'bug drones' that can spy on enemies more than a mile away and operate in strong winds of up to 50mph are being tested by the Britis

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Autonomous flying ‘bug drones’ that can spy on enemies more than a mile away and operate in strong winds of up to 50mph are being tested by the British Army.

Developed by the British defence firms BAE Systems and UAVTEK, ‘The Bug’ is a fist-sized robot weighing just 6.7 ounces (191g) — roughly the same as a smart phone.

The drone has a 40 minute battery life and a ‘stealthy low visual profile’ that makes it hard for the enemy to spot. The army is said to have taken delivery of 30 units. 

In the recent Army Warfighting Experiment, the Bug proved to be the only small drone tested that was capable of withstanding difficult weather conditions.

The annual event — hosted by the Ministry of Defence’s Future Capability Group — is run to explore and give feedback on emerging technologies.

Autonomous flying 'bug drones' that can spy on enemies more than a mile away and operate in strong winds of up to 50mph are being tested by the British Army

Autonomous flying 'bug drones' that can spy on enemies more than a mile away and operate in strong winds of up to 50mph are being tested by the British Army

Autonomous flying ‘bug drones’ that can spy on enemies more than a mile away and operate in strong winds of up to 50mph are being tested by the British Army

‘We delivered the Bug in partnership with UAVTEK [which] designs and builds unmanned aerial vehicles from its workshop in the Cotswolds,’ said BAE Systems’ Principal Technologist, James Gerard.

‘Our experience in developing large volumes of secure hardware means we were able to help the team turn the excellent design into a real product which our Armed Forces can use.’

‘Collaboration is happening right across BAE Systems and is a great way to quickly get the best thinking from small companies into the hands of military users.’

‘In even the toughest weather, the Bug can deliver vital tactical intelligence on what’s around the corner or over the next hill, working autonomously to give troops a visual update,’ Mr Gerard added.

‘Combined with our other information advantage products, this video feed could be shared multi-domain.’

This, he added, would enable ‘commanders on land, sea and air to increase their situational awareness and inform their decisions.’

Developed by the British defence firms BAE Systems and UAVTEK, 'The Bug' is a fist-sized robot (pictured) weighing just 6.7 ounces (191g) — roughly the same as a smart phone

Developed by the British defence firms BAE Systems and UAVTEK, 'The Bug' is a fist-sized robot (pictured) weighing just 6.7 ounces (191g) — roughly the same as a smart phone

Developed by the British defence firms BAE Systems and UAVTEK, ‘The Bug’ is a fist-sized robot (pictured) weighing just 6.7 ounces (191g) — roughly the same as a smart phone

'In even the toughest weather, the Bug can deliver vital tactical intelligence on what’s around the corner or over the next hill, working autonomously to give troops a visual update,' said BAE Systems' Principal Technologist, James Gerard

'In even the toughest weather, the Bug can deliver vital tactical intelligence on what’s around the corner or over the next hill, working autonomously to give troops a visual update,' said BAE Systems' Principal Technologist, James Gerard

‘In even the toughest weather, the Bug can deliver vital tactical intelligence on what’s around the corner or over the next hill, working autonomously to give troops a visual update,’ said BAE Systems’ Principal Technologist, James Gerard

With the potential of the Bug having been proven, the engineers are now looking to further develop the tiny robot’s design.

This could see new sensing equipment and capabilities added.

The team is also exploring how the drone might be integrated directly into other military equipment.

This post first appeared on Dailymail.co.uk

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