The gyrocopter, or autogyro, hasn't really gotten much love since World War II. Several nations pressed the aircraft into naval recon as it was towable by ships and subs while flying. Now, a company called Gyrojet wants to bring the gyrocopter back.
At first glance, autogyros don't seem all that useful. They can't hover in midair like a helicopter or even take off vertically. What they have going for them, however, is being able to stay airborne even at low speeds — which is great for urban recon — and the fact that an autogyro's chassis vibrates less thanks to its unpowered motor. That means that surveillance equipment and the like will be steadier and clear.
Still, one has to wonder if the gyrocopter hasn't lived out its usefulness in a world where unmanned drones are growing in leaps and bounds. In the past, gyrocopters used to be a lot less noticeable than a helicopter, and cheaper to deploy to boot. Then again, since it's a manned vehicle, a gyrocopter could deploy personnel, which is something that a drone can't do yet, and deploy them in areas troublesome for helicopters, such as sandy environments.
Via The Register