Drone can see and track 65 subjects at a time in 15 square mile radius

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You're looking at the US military's greatest electronic surveillance asset, apart from its communications monitoring programs: the Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System, aka ARGUS. That's a very fancy and military-like way of saying The Most Powerful Surveillance Drone on Earth.

The ARGUS stares down at our swirling mass of humanity from about 17,500 feet, and can see 15 square miles in sharp detail at once. It uses 1.8 billion pixels to obtain images so sharp that it can zoom in on individual human beings waving their arms and walking around, or stooping to tie their shoes. The system enables monitoring and real time tracking of up to 65 objects at once, storing everything. It sends one million terabytes of video per day, or 5,000 hours of high definition footage, down to what must be truly enormous servers somewhere.

Where'd this insane piece of technology come from? Why DARPA, of course.

Check out the hour-long PBS special on drones, "Rise of the Drones," below. Keep in mind as you watch, though, that Lockheed Martin, one of the biggest drone manufacturers in the United States, underwrote the PBS episode. You might want to read this before you watch, but watching is worth it just to see how powerful these things are. Ultimately the show underscores that drones aren't going away any time soon.

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