NASA's "Greased Lightning" Drone Is Quieter Than a Lawn Mower and Has 360-Degree Vision

NASA says it could be used for delivery, but this thing seems cut out for spying.

By NASA Langley/David C. Bowman (NASA Langley) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This week NASA released a stunning 360-degree video of Greased Lightning, its battery-powered 10-engine plane of the future that can take off like a helicopter and fly like any other aircraft. Researchers at Langley Research Center in Virginia designed the remotely piloted aircraft that has a 10-foot wingspan. In the video, engineers successfully transition the plane from hover to wing-borne flight.

Make sure your browser has 360-degree video capabilities and click around on the arrows at the top left to transport yourself to somewhere above some field in Virginia. Pilot, shotgun, window — you’ve got any seat you like.

“[GL-10] could be used for small package delivery or vertical takeoff and landing, long endurance surveillance for agriculture, mapping and other applications. A scaled up version — much larger than what we are testing now — would make also a great one to four person size personal air vehicle,” said Bill Fredericks, a NASA aerospace engineer, back in April.

As the video above shows, it’s not a loud device, which means it might make it ideal for intelligence gathering.

“It’s pretty quiet,” said Fredericks. “The current prototype is quieter than a neighbor mowing the lawn with a gas-powered motor.”

Related Tags