The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is planning to develop a drone that can operate at altitudes and speeds of up to 20 miles per hour, a new DARPA project said.
The DARPA effort to develop the drone will involve work from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and the Naval Research Laboratory in Annapolis, Maryland, the agency said.
Drones have long been considered a way to reach a remote location and carry payloads, but they are expensive to build and difficult to control, said Richard Brown, a senior director for unmanned aerial systems at DARPA.
The new drone, called the Phantom 4, is a smaller version of the Phantom 3, which is currently being used by the U.S. Air Force, according to the DARPA website.
Brown said the Phantom IV was originally intended to be used by a fleet of surveillance drones, but was eventually replaced because of its inability to carry payload.
The Phantom 4 uses a small radar sensor that is placed in front of the drone’s nose, rather than above it.
It has a single camera that can capture imagery of an area.
It is about the size of a credit card and can travel up to 2,500 feet, Brown said.
DARPA also is planning a demonstration flight using a smaller drone in 2020, Brown added.
DARP also plans to develop more advanced drone designs, such as the Phantom 7, Brown told reporters.
The U.K.-based company has been working with the U