The Pentagon has awarded a contract to study creating bat-like drones that would be powered by lasers in an ambitious move.
In the future, if you’re on the battlefield and seeing a bat fly past you, it may not be a nocturnal creature at all, but rather a creation of the Pentagon. The U.S. Department of Defense has announced a contract award for a science grant to develop a drone that would fly like a bat and would be powered by lasers.
The Pentagon feels that advancements in biometrics and laser power have made it possible to create a drone that is less like a propeller-driven helicopter or plane and more like a flying animal or insect. Such drones would be much more agile and, combined with sensors, they could prove to be an incredible asset on the battlefield.
But power has been a problem for these types of machines, as they are much more difficult to keep aloft than a plane or a helicopter with a motor. Experts think that lasers could be used to power the bat drone from afar, keeping it flying almost indefinitely.
“The Department of Defense (DoD) announced an award competition for the Defense Enterprise Science Initiative (DESI), a new pilot program that supports university-industry collaboration on use-inspired basic research,” the statement reads. “DESI is sponsored by the Basic Research Office, Office of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and executed in collaboration with the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Air Force Research Laboratory, and the Army Research Office.”