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Sci-Tech

US Army testing tiny new drones better suited to Batman

The military is testing $40,000 handheld surveillance drones that latch onto utility belts.

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The PD-100 is a tiny spy. Prox Dynamics

Batman better get his act together if he wants to keep up with the US Army. It's now testing a tiny and arguably kind of creepy new tool designed to deploy directly from a utility belt -- mini surveillance drones.

What could make a batarang more effective than deploying an 18-gram drone armed with regular and thermal cameras ahead of it to scout out potential evildoers and other targets?

US Army special forces has been testing out a handful of the palm-size PD-100 Black Hornet drones from Norway's Prox Dynamics, which have just those features, according to Defense One. The US Army has expressed interest in working with the PD-100 or something like it for at least the past several months, according to a press release.

We've seen an increasing number of tiny drones meant for consumers hitting the market recently, but the PD-100 reportedly can also deliver a clear, real-time video feed and stay aloft for 25 minutes at a stretch.

But most important for aspiring superheroes on the go, it also launches from a small box that hooks to a utility belt and stores all data sent from the drone, just in case it should fall into the hands of bad guys. The drone can be piloted with a one-handed video game-like controller or pilot itself to pre-selected points.

The PD-100 has already been used by British forces in Afghanistan, and now the US military is testing it out. In case you're thinking it could help your own domestic crime-fighting ventures, it might help to have the financial backing of something like Wayne Enterprises behind you, as the little guys sell for about $40,000 (about £26,000, AU$51,450) a piece.

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