China is exporting drones that it advertises as having lethal autonomy to the Middle East, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Tuesday. It’s the first time that a senior Defense official has acknowledged that China is selling drones capable of taking life with little or no human oversight.
The US Interior Department, which oversees federal land and resource management, says it’s grounding its entire aerial drone fleet of more than 800 UAVs out of concern for Chinese spying and drone-aided cyberattacks.
Air Force scientists have announced that they had tested a robot kit that can turn virtually any plane into a self-piloting drone, through a program called ROBOpilot. Why is that important? For starters, planes and drones are expensive. The drone shot down over Iran last month cost $220 million.
Tech industry executives for years have promised that drones -- aircraft vehicles that operate without a pilot on board -- are the future of delivery. The small, buzzy aircraft have increasingly emerged in the skies above U.S. cities, dropping products including food and medical supplies at or near peoples’ doorsteps. But mainstream implementation of drone delivery services is likely still years off...
Members of the Senate Commerce security subcommittee examined the impact of banning Chinese-made drones, or components for drones, during a hearing on Tuesday. The senators compared the debate on drones to the recent decision by the Department of Commerce to blacklist Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei in May, a move that barred U.S. firms from working with the company.
Amazon’s drone ambitions took another step forward today as the tech giant revealed its latest delivery drone design. At Amazon’s re:MARS conference, Amazon’s Worldwide Consumer CEO, Jeff Wilke, showed off a fully-electric drone that can fly up to 15 miles and deliver packages under 5 pounds in less than 30 minutes.
The Navy is planning to launch a massive, 50-ton undersea drone to expand mission scope, increase attack options, integrate large high-tech sensors, further safeguard manned combat crews and possibly fire torpedoes -- all while waging war under the ocean surface.
Drone aircraft used to be prohibitively expensive, but now you can buy a camera-equipped drone that talks to your smartphone for under $100. The US Department of Homeland Security has issued an alert that drones manufactured by Chinese firms might have become a little too accessible. The DHS says much of the data collected by these drones ends up on servers in mainland China where the Chinese government can access it.
It’s not hard to imagine how a small drone, like a quadcopter with a camera on it, could be useful for a soldier in the Army. After all, it’s a way to see something that’s over a hill, or around a corner, without sticking your neck out. But while the Army has fixed-wing drones such as the Raven and Puma (picture a big model airplane to get a sense of what they look like) that a soldier would launch by hand, it doesn’t have an official Army drone that’s a four-prop flying machine like any civilian might buy from a company like DJI.
Top U.S. officials, including FBI director Christopher Wray, have warned that America is vulnerable. Washington, D.C., for example, has what Department of Homeland Security officials have called “the most tightly controlled airspace in the country;” it’s illegal to fly drones anywhere in the District. And yet: In 2015, an off-duty government employee managed to crash a drone onto the White House lawn.