At some point in the near future, the first clue that an Osama bin Laden might have that he's been tracked down inside his Abbottabad compound might not be the sound of helicopters outside, but the buzzing of a bird-size drone in his bedroom doorway. The Defense Department's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is asking researchers to help develop drones capable of flying up to 45 mph indoors and small enough to slip into a building through an open window.
The inspiration for the program? The goshawk, a bird of prey with a remarkable ability to navigate through dense woodlands without, as DARPA program manager Mark Micire puts it, "smacking into a tree." The avian-influenced project is being called the Fast Lightweight Autonomy Program.