Like most modern technology, drones suffer from the fact they they have finite power sources. Now a Boston-based CyPhy Works has launched a commercial version of its Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications (PARC) which stays up in the air indefinitely—but it’s not as magical as it sounds.

The drone actually uses a thin cable—CyPhy refers to it as a ‘microfilament’—to send power to the drone and data to the ground. The wire is said to be thinner than a headphone cable, and despite the tether the drone is able to fly at heights of up to 500 feet.

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The fact that it never has to land is obviously attractive for some applications, such as surveillance; in fact, Engadget points out that the military has already used it to monitor compounds in the past. But CyPhy Works has now received an exemption allowing it to be sold commercially.

The six-rotor drone is fitted with high-res cameras that can provide visible and infrared images, and the drone can be left to fly at a set altitude for the kind of surveillance work described above. Pricing and availability are yet to be announced.

[CyPhy via Technology Review via Engadget]