US testing bird-inspired drones with onboard AI

The US military is not only working on bird-inspired spy drones, but even has its own 'aviary' in which they are tested and put through their paces for future usage.

A couple of years ago, remote control and general tech nerds were treated to a video that showed off the general direction in which military spy technology was heading, showing a drone inspired by and disguised as a hummingbird. Other inspirations include insects such as the dragonfly.

Tech mag Wired reports, that Pentagon has even done work on the herding and movement patterns of birds, bats and fish.

The reasoning behind this is that with a drone as light as the ones being planned, other factors come into play that wouldn't affect ground-based or heavier robots; things like wind. The idea is that in certain instances, wind or other obstacles could be handled by onboard AI, even if a human operator is also wirelessly connected.

Technologies like this are being tried out at the Micro-Aviary in the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Built into the walls of this large room with Tron-like aesthetics are many, many motion sensors that track the movement of the minute drones being trialled.

A new video has been released, this one showing the room in question and some of the hardware being worked with.

The US isn't the only country working on new flying technology though. Japan recently debuted a flying robot ball that could have other applications.