Gallery: DARPA Unveils Speedy Solar-Powered Smart Blimp

 

The military often gets to check out exciting green technology before the general public. Case in point: DARPA‘s new smart blimp, an automated, unmanned airship featuring an advanced radar system, solar cells, and a fuel cell to store energy at night. Dubbed The Integrated Sensor Is the Structure (ISIS), the helium-filled blimp takes advantage of its radar system to offer up high-resolution images of battlefield scenes.

According to its creators at MITRE, the blimp can move at 60 knots during sustained trips and 100 knots during a sprint–so ISIS can make it to anywhere on Earth within 10 days of launch. Flying over six miles in the air, ISIS is able to avoid both ground-based missiles and air-to-air missiles.

So will we be flying around in speedy solar-powered blimps sometime soon? Probably not. The Air Force and DARPA won’t have a prototype of ISIS ready until 2013, and consumer applications won’t come until much later. But eventually, the technology could change the way we use solar power for transportation.

+ MITRE

Via Fast Company

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2 Comments

  1. fleatrader June 25, 2010 at 3:55 am

    Nice, thanks for the heads up, frogstar.

  2. frogstar April 5, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    There is a group that has already started work on a similar project for transportation at high speeds. Check out:
    http://www.solarairship.net
    It looks like they already have a flying prototype

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