On March 13, 2023, the Military Enthusiasts World YouTube channel posted a video produced by China's People's Liberation Army unveiling a new domestically-produced "pocket-sized" hummingbird drone. The video shows Chinese soldiers operating the drone, which can fit in the palm of one's hand, weighs approximately 35 grams (1.2 ounces), uses replaceable batteries, and is equipped with cameras, thermal and laser imaging, and GPS capabilities. The video says that the drone will prove invaluable for urban battlefield reconnaissance, infiltration reconnaissance, and special operations. In addition, expert Du Wenlong predicted that in the future, there will be "bionic drones" that will be indistinguishable from animals such as birds, insects, or marine animals. He also predicted that future drones will be capable of operating both in water and in the air.
Narrator: "The compact and portable hummingbird drone can be described as a vanguard and as the urban warfare magic weapon of the battlefield. This pocket-sized drone is small and light, easy to carry, and convenient to deploy, making it a powerful assistant for individual combat.
"Despite its small size, it is equipped with thousands of components and various advanced electronic systems, including laser radar, high-precision GPS receiver, high-definition camera, and other powerful reconnaissance capabilities.
"It can provide detailed real-time data and precise infantry reconnaissance in urban street battles, making it an indispensable reconnaissance tool on the battlefield. In the future, as technology develops, UAVs in China will present many new forms. First, there will be miniature drones."
Du Wenlong: "In the future, UAVs may transition from extremely large to extremely small, as these small devices are difficult to detect and pose significant challenges to reconnaissance and early warning. This type of drone will play a particularly important role in infiltration reconnaissance, including special operation attacks. Second, there will be bionic drones. In the future, drones may be modified to resemble birds, insects, or even marine creatures, making it difficult to distinguish between real and fake biological organisms. This type of drone's infiltration actions will be almost imperceptible to the target.
"Additionally, there will be multi-amphibian drones. In the future, this type of drone can function as a boat on the water's surface, and an unmanned underwater vehicle.
"But if needed, it can fly from under the water to the sky, forming a kind of cross-media transformation and interaction between unmanned boats and UAVs. This type of drone's stealth and sudden strike capabilities will be significantly enhanced.
"Therefore, in addition to pursuing speed, stealth, and precision, we must also delve deeper into other aspects of observation. In the coming years, unforeseen development directions, especially unexpected development modes, will become the focus of UAV development."