"Special Delivery," For Sure

Now I know why the Pentagon's chiefs are spending billions to develop heavily-armed, flying robots. It's so they can get their Amazon deliveries quicker.x45a_overhead.jpgWell, maybe it won't be the main mission. But Mike Francis, Darpa's program director for Joint-Unmanned Combat Air Systems, says there might be a couple of commercial applications in the killer drones' underlying algorithms. At the agency's DarpaTech 2005 conference, Francis noted that J-UCAS technology -- including multiple unmanned aircraft (unarmed, of course) and the planes' associated software and ground systems -- could be commercialized for a variety of uses. Inspecting power lines are one possibility. Handling security is another. A third is delivering or tracking UPS or FedEx packages.Darpa announced that Boeing's X-45A prototype killer drones successfully completed a suppression of enemy air defenses demonstration last week, including detecting multiple simulated threats and performing coordinated attacks on multiple targets. The aircraft also prioritized targets, re-planned attacks as priorities changed and avoided simulated "pop-up" threats. It's no so hard to imagine the drones using the same decision-making processes to cope with slightly less-lethal choices.-- Catherine Macrae Hockmuth

Show Full Article

Related Topics

DefenseTech

November is Military Family Appreciation Month

Throughout the month, military families are honored and recognized for their commitment and contributions in support of our military and nation.

View the Tribute

Most Popular Military News