Vulture UAV by Jim Wilson/Lockheed Martin
Habitat: A belt of relatively calm air around 55,000 feet
Behavior: Lockheed Martin’s design for Darpa’s Vulture program can stay aloft for five years, turning lazy circles above any patch of ground that needs continuous monitoring. A suite of day-and-night cameras can scan a 600-mile swath, sending data back to handlers on the ground. The craft will have to beat out species from a Boeing-led consortium and Virginia-based Aurora Flight Sciences for a second round of funding.
Notable Feature: The craft’s semiflexible structure bends instead of breaking when winds cause the long span to oscillate violently