A software company CEO who is trying to train drones to think like pilots promises he is not producing a cadre of mutinous rebel aircraft. He just wants to prevent collisions between drones and human-powered airplanes.
The Predator tracking software, as any good predator should be, is an incredibly keen hunter. Once shown any object, such as a face or a car, the camera learns to recognize and follow the object with frightening accuracy.
A British unmanned combat aircraft unveiled Monday could become the first autonomous plane to strike targets at long range, even on another continent. Named Taranis, for the Celtic god of thunder, the prototype aircraft will test the possibility of a long-distance striker controlled by ground crews, the Ministry of Defence says.
Further validating the increasing role that unmanned aerial systems (UAS) play in 21st-century defense, the United States Air Force announced yesterday that it will institutionalize the remotely piloted aircraft pilot service field, establishing undergraduate RPA training that will make UAV pilot less a specialization and more a full-fledged operational career.
A dozen aspiring pilots at the University of North Dakota can't wait to never get off the ground. Following a shifting military strategy that calls for more and more unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) supporting troops on the ground, U. of ND is offering the first four-year degree for UAV pilots hoping to take the sticks in a field expected to swell to a $20 billion industry over the next decade.
The use of drone aircraft for surveillance and bombing has transformed how the US wages war -- a fact not lost on our cunning adversaries. Rather than just sit around, waiting for the next Predator missile strike, insurgents in Iraq have devised a way to intercept the video feed from drone sensors, giving them the same view as the drone's operator. And they did it with a $26 piece of software.
While most research directed at improving UAVs focuses on upgrading their weapons or sensor packages, the Naval Research Laboratory is also working to ensure that the next generation of killer drones are as fuel-efficient as they are deadly. And a recent test of their hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered Ion Tiger UAV proves how successful they have been: it staid aloft for just shy of 24 hours on a single fuel load.
A high demand for Predators and Reapers on the front lines has led the U.S. Air Force to take an unusual step: asking human pilots to mimic the drones for training purposes back in the States.
Cessna 182 aircraft have become converted "Surrogate Predators" with the installation of a "Predator ball" that typically serves as the surveillance and tracking eyes for drone operators. Such Predator balls give the manned Cessnas the ability to lock onto targets and track them.
A drone pilot's nightmare came true when operators lost control of an armed MQ-9 Reaper flying a combat mission over Afghanistan on Sunday. That led a manned U.S. aircraft to shoot down the unresponsive drone before it flew beyond the edge of Afghanistan airspace.
The U.S. Air Force stated that a manned aircraft took "proactive measures" to shoot down the Reaper, which ended up crashing into the side of a mountain. Reaper drones have typically engaged in hunter-killer missions over Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan by targeting enemies on the ground with Hellfire missiles.