Tag Archives | Drones

Pentagon Lays Out Blueprint For Robot Wars Of The Future

Pic: USDOD (PD)

Pic: USDOD (PD)

Prepare for more drone warfare.

Via Christian Science Monitor:

At a NASCAR racetrack in Miami earlier this month, teams from NASA, Google, and 14 other groups of engineering gurus put cutting-edge robots through some challenging paces.

The aim was to see how well the robots could tackle tasks that may sound simple, but are tricky for nonhumans – including, say, climbing a ladder, unscrewing a hose from a spigot, navigating over rubble, and steering a car.

The contest was dreamed up by the Pentagon’s futuristic experimentation arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and senior defense officials were watching it carefully – well aware that the Pentagon is growing increasingly reliant on robotics.

The Defense Department will become even more reliant on such devices in the decades to come. That’s the conclusion of a new blueprint quietly released by the Pentagon this week, which offers some telling clues about the future of unmanned systems – in other words, drones and robots.

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Drone Wars Go Underwater With New U.S. Navy ‘Glider’

US Navy 101021-N-5972N-006 Daniel Braun, left, Eric Sanchez and David Barney, Systems Center Pacific engineers at Space and Naval Warfare Systems CThanks to activists like Robert Greenwald and his new film Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars, many Americans are well aware of the ominous threat of weaponized aerial drones. Few, however, know that the United States Navy also has a drone program. From TIME Swampland:

While you were out shopping Sunday for those last-minute holiday gifts, the Navy pushed ahead with its own vision of an underwater sugar plum: a fleet of “long endurance, transoceanic gliders harvesting all energy from the ocean thermocline.”

And you thought Jules Verne died in 1905.

Fact is, the Navy has been seeking—pretty much under the surface—a way to do underwater what the Air Force has been doing in the sky: prowl stealthily for long periods of time, and gather the kind of data that could turn the tide in war.

The Navy’s goal is to send an underwater drone, which it calls a “glider,” on a roller-coaster-like path for up to five years.

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A Hacker Drone That Turns Other Drones Into Zombies Under Its Control

dronesBasically, envision Alfred Hitchcock’s The Byrds but with Amazon delivery drones suddenly turning against you. Ars Technica reports:

Serial hacker Samy Kamkar has released all the hardware and software specifications that hobbyists need to build an aerial drone that seeks out other drones in the air, hacks them, and turns them into a conscripted army of unmanned vehicles under the attacker’s control.

“How fun would it be to take over drones, carrying Amazon packages… or take over any other drones and make them my little zombie drones,” Kamkar asked rhetorically in a blog post.

Dubbed SkyJack, the contraption uses a radio-controlled Parrot AR.Drone quadcopter carrying a Raspberry Pi circuit board, a small battery, and two wireless transmitters. The devices seek out wireless signals of nearby Parrot drones, hijack the wireless connections used to control them, and commandeer the victims’ flight-control and camera systems.

Kamkar is the creator of the infamous Samy worm, a complex piece of JavaScript that knocked MySpace out of commission in 2005 when the exploit added more than one million MySpace friends to Kamkar’s account.

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Amazon’ Drone Delivery Service Triggers Twitter Freakout

amazon droneIs it April Fool's Day? Apparently not, although the Amazon Prime Air drone delivery test has the twitterverse in uproar. Story from MarketWatch:
If we let Jeff Bezos proceed unfettered with his latest plans for disruption, we will soon be faced with Skynet-type helicopters of terror blowing up airplanes, abducting our children, and destroying everything our society holds dear. That’s the extreme reaction to what Amazon says it’s cooking up these days. There are more rational fears, as well. Either way, the overwhelming public response to the concept of drones buzzing through the air and dropping off packages to customers within a 30-minute time-frame seems to be that, at best, it’s a half-baked longshot...
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Drones Spark Dramatic Rise In UFO Sightings Worldwide

ufosDoes a spate of UFO sightings reflect our our confusion and unease over the coming age of drones? TIME writes:

“The thing about drones is…that you can make them look like UFOs,” Speigel says. “You can go to the hardware store, and can pick up the materials you need…to make people go crazy.”

The National UFO Reporting Center says that UFO sightings increased 42 percent between 2011 and 2012. “You have to think of the older people who have no concept of what a drone is,” explains Tony Hallett, CEO of drone consulting firm Unmanned Response.

Last year, confused drivers near Washington, D.C. took pictures of a saucer-like object on the back of a truck and posted them to Twitter, prompting one concerned individual to call 9-1-1. The object turned out to be a military drone.

In June, an unidentified flying object spotted by protestors in San Paulo, Brazil also turned out to be a drone that belonged to a local TV station.

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USA Has Plans for Hypersonic Robot Plane

blueskyWhen I was a kid I couldn’t wait for robots to be a part of daily life. Sadly, my childish dreams of a robot buddy a la R2D2 have long been replaced by the reality of globe-crossing semi-autonomous bringers of death. Check out Lockheed Martin’s newest entry into the world of robot death machines, a hypersonic drone that should be on schedule to be killing babies born today by the time they’re nearly adults.

Via BBC:

Lockheed Martin has begun work on a successor to the supersonic Blackbird SR-71 spy plane.

The unmanned SR-72 will use an engine that combines a turbine and a ramjet to reach its top speed of Mach 6 – about 3,600mph (5,800km/h). Like its predecessor, the SR-72 will be designed for high-altitude surveillance but might also be fitted with weapons to strike targets.

Lockheed said the aircraft should be operational by 2030.

Keep reading.

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Notorious Arizona Sheriff Sheriff Joe Arpaio To Deploy Unmanned Drones

SheriffJoePhoenix’s ABC15 reports on the forging ahead with new forms of corrupt policing:

Arpaio confirms to ABC15 he has a plan to use drones, if he can get them. While Arpaio didn’t specify exactly the types of drones he wants, at a Tuesday press conference, he said the models they’re eyeing are between $5,000 and $20,000, and he’d like them outfitted with cameras and infrared capabilities.

The first drone, if obtained, would circle or hover in the areas above Arpaio’s jails, he explained. “Surveillance regarding crime scenes and drugs, catching dope peddlers,” Arpaio described.

When asked about people’s privacy, Arpaio responded without hesitation. “Privacy in the jails? Privacy for criminals, privacy for those with drugs? They better watch out.”

As for the cost of the drones, Arpaio says the money would come mainly through drug seizure dollars. “Isn’t it great? It would be the criminals buying these to arrest more criminals,” said Arpaio.

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A Drone Killed My Grandmother | EXCLUSIVE Interview with the Rehman Family

Abby Martin’s exclusive interview with the Rehman family, who lost their grandmother due to an American drone strike. The Rehmans came to the US from the North Waziristan region of Pakistan to testify in front of Congress about the horrors of living under drones. Abby also speaks with Jennifer Gibson, a lawyer traveling with the family about what it will take to end drone policy.

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