Unmanned Aerial Vehicles at the Smithsonian

The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum has mounted a display of unmanned aerial vehicles, essentially model airplanes outfitted with GPS, microprocessors, and surveillance tech for battlefield reconnaissance. Seen here is a prototype of the 5 pound, 45-inch AeroVironment Dragon Eye. It was launched by hand or slingshot style with a bungee cord. From Smithsonian:

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Unmanned and remote-controlled aircraft have a surprisingly long history. "The technology that goes into a UAV has been around for 100 years," (museum curator Dik) Daso says, "since before World War I." Henry Ford and other top engineers helped to design both full-size and scale planes that were radio-controlled. The Great War ended before any of them could go into action. Now, Daso adds, "there are so many UAVs in the air, it's hard to keep track of them all..."

So why did (Dragon Eye co-developer Rob Colbow) decide to include this duct-taped veteran in the UAV display? "I wanted it for all the kids who, like me, have built things like this."

Under the Radar with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles