Watch how the Navy plans to deploy its tiny Cicada drones

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Mariella Moon
May 22nd, 2015
In this article: cicada, drone, navy
Watch how the Navy plans to deploy its tiny Cicada drones

Cicada, the Navy's palm-sized, sensor-laden drone, has no propeller or engine. In fact, it looks like a child's plaything. So, how will they get to their destination? Well, the Navy plans to drop them from either a balloon or a bigger drone -- in this case, its testers used both. During a 2011 demo and test flight in Yuma, Arizona, the Navy attached Cicadas to the wings of bigger drones, which were, in turn, attached to balloons. Once the balloons reached 57,000 feet, they let go of the big drones, which flew until they were within 15 feet of the Cicadas' landing locations. The tiny drones then dropped and glided to their landing spot, thanks to their preprogrammed GPS coordinates. In all, the Navy did eight rounds of testing that day in Yuma, and you can watch one of the drops in action below the fold.

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