The first one is a small drone, about a foot wide and 16 inches tall, designed for surveillance, intelligence and reconnaissance. It can fly through small windows and theoretically stay aloft forever.
Well, that's where the thin copper wire comes in. Instead of communicating wirelessly, the drone will receive both power and direction through the copper microfilament, which will be the thickness of a fishing line.
Without that microfilament, it would stay up for 50 minutes. But if the battery in the base station were to be regularly renewed, it wouldn't really need to come down.
“Being able to stay up aloft without constant interruptions to come down and recharge is a critical new capability,” Greiner told Wired. “And with locations where you don’t have a lot of infrastructure.”
If the idea of a drone with a wire attached to it seems funny to you, Grenier has an answer to that. She told Unmanned Systems News:
“I believe in cheating on technological problems. I’ve always believed that, by the way, and if you can do something simpler, let’s do it.”
Greiner also asserts that the drone, because it doesn't communicate wirelessly, will be harder to track, but I'm skeptical: Won't the copper wire make it easier to track?
Well, whichever it is, the drone features two high-definition cameras, plus an optional thermal camera. You can see it in action in the video below.
PARC (Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications)