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From Heli-Drones to Drone Boats: Inside the Drone Expo


I found this Boeing heli-drone one of the most intriguing, though I'm not sure the guys behind the program had heard it called cute before. The Unmanned Little Bird H-6U can go for 10.6 hours with a 300-pound payload and a ceiling of 20,000 feet. The compact chopper is used for maritime operations, intelligence and surveillance, precision cargo resupply, precision weapons delivery, and as an unmanned component of a manned team.

Even though Little Bird is packing some heat here, the Boeing reps pitched less explosive uses to me, such as flying into a smoky wildland area to find hotspots during a wildfire when conditions would make it dangerous for manned helicopters to plunge into the region. It was one of many examples I came across at the show of businesses pointing out public safety potential of drones as privacy advocates are trying to enact safeguards in connection with government use.