The low-priced drone deck designed by a team at the University of Michigan is expected to be used by military forces to help identify targets in future battlefields.
It is being developed for use in the U.S. Air Force’s “infrastructure reconnaissance” program, where drones will be used to gather intelligence on enemy infrastructure, such as power plants, bridges and power lines.
It’s a concept that was once a distant dream for the team at Michigan, whose research has focused on the use of low cost drones to collect data on battlefields and to aid military operations.
“The concept that we’ve been exploring for a long time is the use-it-or-lose-it approach,” said Joshua Johnson, a senior research scientist at the U-M’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and a lead researcher on the project.
“You could build a lot of these things, and then you could take them apart and use them to build new things.
But the idea is to use these little drone ships, these small drones, to collect these kind of things, then we can go and build new kinds of things.”
Researchers from the University at Buffalo, the University, the Johns Hopkins University and the University College of London have all contributed to the design.
The drones can be controlled by either a smartphone or an iPad.
“We’re using these little drones to do some of the most basic things,” said senior research fellow Adam Wintemute, who is leading the research.
“So that gives us a way to make some really interesting applications.”
Johnson, who led the team that designed the drone deck, said the project was a bit like “the future of the military.”
“When you think about the military, you think of the Navy, but this is really the future of military intelligence,” he said.
The U-Michigan team, which includes Johnson and his graduate student Eric Cappell, has been working on the idea for some time, and the team is hoping to launch a small prototype in the near future.
Johnson said that the drones would be able to collect information that would be useful for military purposes, such how a bridge is designed and how the bridges are constructed.
For instance, they could tell military planners if a bridge might be unsafe or if it is needed for the military to conduct a training exercise.
The team is also working on creating a way for the drone to be able move around.
Johnson said that they will be able attach it to a vehicle, or attach it on a rail to be moved around.
For the drone, Johnson said the team has been using a GoPro camera, which they say has a range of 10 meters.
The project has also attracted the attention of the Department of Defense, which is working to develop the technology to use the drone as a ground surveillance tool.
“Our hope is that they want to get some sort of use out of it, that it can be used for other things,” Johnson said.
“But we have no idea if it will be.
It’s too early to tell.”
The drones will initially be deployed in the United States, but will be soon expanded to other countries.
The project is still in its early stages, and Johnson said he has not had any contact with the U’s Defense Department about the project, but said that it is working with the government to find a way around any obstacles that may come up.
Johnson has said that while drones may be used in the future for other purposes, the current technology is not suited for such uses.
“If we could do something better, it would be to use them as a weapon,” he told Reuters.