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Miami cops trial 'hover and stare' ducted-fan Dalek

Portable petrol powered perv-patrols for 'urban tactics'

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Miami police have purchased a small Dalek-like aerial surveillance droid capable of "hover and stare" missions. The American cops intend to trial the flying wastebin surveillance platform in urban "tactical operations".

"Hover-&-stare" in Army hands.

The machine in question is Honeywell's Micro Air Vehicle, or MAV, also in service with the US Army under the name Class I Unmanned Air Vehicle. Rather than conventional wings or rotors the MAV employs a vertical ducted fan, which allows it to hover about in confined urban terrain - or soar at 10,000 feet and 60mph. It can stay airborne for almost an hour, and carries nightsight and thermal-imaging cameras.

The so-called "hover and stare" abilities of the 18-pound, petrol-powered portable peep-bot have already been employed by US troops examining suspected roadside bombs in Iraq. It seems that the Miami heat are impressed too, following a demo by Honeywell at a test site in New Mexico. Miami-Dade police department helicopter pilots will now test the MAV above the mean streets of Florida in the coming six months, according to Flight International.

Honeywell apparently expect to shift large numbers of MAVs to police forces and military customers, having set up a line capable of scaling up to produce 100 hovering robo-oglers a month. This follows a large order placed by the American forces' bomb-disposal teams in January. ®

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