Marc Sanchez Dec 30, 2011

You know that remote control helicopter that you got as a present this year. I bet you think you’re pretty cool out in the front yard making your helicopter do tricks, trying to land it on the birdhouse or scare the cat. Well, the Army’s just-announced drone helicopter, the A-160 Hummingbird,  is here to laugh in your face – HA! Due to be put into service in May or June of 2012, these drone helicopters are equipped with 1.8 Gigapixel cameras. Oh sorry, were you feeling better about the whole helicopter thing because you remembered you got a cool, new camera too? Yeah, 1.8 ga-ga-ga-GIGA-pixels!

The BBC reports on the camera:

It offers 900 times the resolution of the 2 megapixel camera found in some mobile phones. The system can provide real-time video streams at the rate of 10 frames a second.

The army said that was enough to track people and vehicles from altitudes above 20,000 feet (6.1km) across almost 65 square miles (168 sq km).

The camera is like a bug’s eye, with several different views going at once. Drone operators have the ability to follow multiple views at the same time, so if, say, a house full of suspected terrorists scatters in all different directions, the drone can follow them all.

Cheer up, you still get to play with your Hot Wheels track. The Army can’t take that away from you.


We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.