Over at the Telstar Logistics blog, BB pal Todd Lappin points to a a German news report that Google has purchased small UAV "microdrone" aircraft manufactured by Germany's microdrone GmbH, perhaps for use to augment the company's Street View mapping data.
The UAVs being flogged are mini helicopters with cameras attached
that can be flown about all over the place. They're quiet and resemble
sci-fi UFOs for the vertically challenged alien. They can fly up to 80km per hour, so Microdrone CEO Sven Juerss
suggests they'll be brilliant for mapping entire neighbourhoods really
quickly and relatively cheaply.
Even before Google started data mining on open web networks its Street View
operations were controversial, with Google Maps picking up on people
who didn't exactly want their faces plastered all over the internet.
With the kind of high-angle aerial shots this sort of kit can achieve,
it boggles the mind as to the sort of images that may be accidentally
Todd's take: "Skepticism is warranted, and outrage is probably premature." His post is worth a read, and includes some interesting (and creepy) video of the drones in action.