[image url="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/7/2010/08/340x_znvznawp5s0.jpg" link="lightbox" caption="" source="" alt="Google's Creepy Drone" align="left" size="xlarge" nocrop="true" clear="true"]
Google took delivery of a near-silent mini-drone from a German company, which says it hopes to sell a fleet of the spy planes for taking Google Maps photos. Hopefully without using the optional thermal camera that sees through walls.
[image url="http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4bf41c7d7f8b9a52198b0000/image.jpg" link="http://gawker.com/" caption="" source="" alt="gawker" align="left" size="xlarge" nocrop="true" clear="true"]
The CEO of Germany’s Microdrones GmbH told Germany’s Economy Week (“Wirtschaftswoche”) that his company sent one of its models to Google HQ in Mountain View, California, and “we have a good chance of getting into lasting business with Google… the [drones] are well suited to provide more timely recording of [Google’s] map service.” Economy Week quoted “appalled” privacy activists, who said the drones operate in near silence (judge for yourself in the YouTube demo above) and can optionally be equipped with night-vision and thermal imaging cameras, making them even more invasive than Google Street View, in which photos are taken by van.
But, hey, if you don’t want your location, your car’s location of your home’s thermal profile updated in real time by Google’s robotic air army, maybe you shouldn’t be doing shameful things in the first place.
Update: Civilian drones are tightly restricted by law but “ready to take off,” according to this 2009 Popular Mechanics article emailed in by blogger Robert Scoble.
UPDATE: According to BBC News god, @jonfildes, Google denies this news and Microdrones has gone silent.
UPDATE 2: Jeff Jarvis (@jeffjarvis) says a Google executive bought one of the drones, not Google: Asked Google about report of buying camera drones. Google says the company did not buy it; a curious exec did.
Send an email to Ryan Tate, the author of this post, at [email protected].
Gawker is the high-brow gossip sheet covering media, entertainment, politics and technology.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.