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In a decidedly Orwellian turn in an already 1984 like reality, this past week Boeing was awarded a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office for an autonomous drone system that is capable of being recharged without having to land.

While civil libertarians nationwide sound the alarm as to the rise of many states use of unwarranted drones, jurisdictions and municipalities across the nation are taking full advantage of the technology much to the detriment of privacy.

Current limitations on the amount of time a drone can spend airborne are directly related to the amount of fuel energy an unmanned aerial vehicle is capable of carrying.

This new Boeing patent, if realized, could revolutionize the way drones are operated and utilized.

Reminiscent of something straight out of the Matrix movies, the new system would involve drones powered by battery, which would deploy a tether capable of connecting to a power source, according to the patent.

The unmanned aerial vehicle would hover as the tether connected to the energy source and once fully charged would fly off and continue upon its pre-programmed task, with other drones taking their position at the charging station.

The drone would have the capacity to utilize ocean and land-based power stations and would even be capable of recharging while in flight.

The Boeing patent, approved this week, was initially filed back in 2013.

There is certainly a list of well-intentioned uses for these drones, like providing wifi or other communications signals to remote areas. However, the US government is great at finding all the dangerous ways to implement such technology.

A future with pre-programmed automated flying drones which never need to land except for maintenance could result in a dystopian reality for humanity if manipulated by the military industrial complex.

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The use of swarm algorithms in relation to autonomous drone fleets, when taken in concert with substantial advances in AI capabilities, has the potential to make the unimaginable a reality.

While the creation of a more efficient means of charging a fleet of drones seems on the surface a simple way to streamline the technology, the long-term implications for privacy and civil liberties could be devastating.

Add to the list of concerns the arming of domestic drones and you have a recipe for disaster.

Do we as a society really trust a swarm of autonomous drones, potentially armed, which in theory could almost never need leave the sky?

Immediately the thought of the “Sentinels” from the Matrix movies comes to mind when examining the potential future implications of this newly patented drone.


Boeing hasn’t commented on whether they plan to put these systems into production, and according to the Business Insider, the proposed system only “exists on the drawing board.”

Do we truly believe that DARPA isn't already heavily invested in this technology?

Do you think autonomous flying drones that virtually never need to land are a good thing or are they the next step in our descent into a dark Orwellian future?

h/t Business Insider

Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, free thinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay's work has previously been published on and You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.