Science fiction fans recognize Asimov’s prescient thoughts on robot programming, captured in his three laws of robotics. In Asimov’s sci-fi world, robots were all programmed to protect their humans (the first law), to obey their humans (the second law) and to protect themselves (the third law). These laws laid the foundation for many fantastic, futuristic stories and have long provided actionable concepts for today’s robots, including those we launch over our modern battlefields. As the stories advanced, he later added another law, called the “zeroth” law, which had priority over all the others, “A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.”
Nearly everyone has heard a parent or grandparent refer to the good ol’ days. Tales usually begin either with, “When I was your age…” or “In my day, we didn’t have….”
While it seems appropriate that octogenarians and nonagenarians tell such stories, today they’re not the only generations sharing memories that begin with, “When I was young….” People in their 20s and 30s reflect on their youth wistfully because members of the younger generation—who, by the way, are only five or 10 years younger than they are—can communicate, play, buy and sell, and share life moments in ways that surprise even 20-somethings.
Scientists are on the verge of breakthroughs in developing technology for controlling robots with brain waves. Advances might one day allow intuitive and instantaneous collaboration between man and machine, which could benefit a wide array of fields, including the military, medicine and manufacturing.
The possibilities for brain-controlled robotic systems are practically limitless. Experts suggest the capability could allow users to operate unmanned vehicles, wheelchairs or prosthetic devices. It could permit robots to lift hospital patients or carry wounded warriors to safety. Factory robots could more efficiently crank out jet fighters or virtually any other product.
Troy Olsson, a program manager in the Microsystems Technology Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, says providing technologies to support warfighters is the most satisfying part of his job.
Olsson's connection to warfighters comes in part from his relationship with his grandfather, a former Navy man who taught him right from wrong, valued hard work and never forgot how to navigate by the stars.
The results of a survey released on Tuesday provide evidence that the choice of using drones versus manned aircraft has significant effects on the decision to start or escalate conflicts. The survey, conducted by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Technology and National Security Program and the Future of Warfare Initiative, evaluated attitudes of the general public and experts about the use of drones in military settings.
Key findings among those CNAS surveyed:
The U.S. Defense Department announced today that in October 2016 it successfully demonstrated one of the world’s largest microdrone swarms at China Lake, California. The demonstration consisted of 103 Perdix drones launched from three F/A-18 Super Hornets. The microdrones demonstrated advanced swarm behaviors such as collective decision making, adaptive formation flying and self-healing.
The Naval Air Systems Command and the Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) are partnering on the effort. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter created the SCO in 2012 to boost Defense Department innovation.
As people get better at killing each other, the technology they are using to defend themselves also gets better. This applies to both friends and foes of the United States. The world is growing increasingly volatile, with nation-states developing innovative ways to threaten global stability. Russia, for one, is creating anti-access/area-denial exclusion zones with its encroachment on sovereign nations, and China has been establishing air defense zones off its coast while spending heavily on modernized weapon systems that can reach farther into the Pacific Ocean.
MITRE Corporation officials say they expect a rush of proposals in the final days of the non-profit organization’s Countering Unauthorized Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Challenge. The deadline for submitting white papers is February 7.
It all began with Dolly, perhaps the most notable sheep in the last century—or any century for that matter. Dolly was the first animal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell. To put this phenomenal technical accomplishment in perspective, when she was born in 1996, a high-end personal computer with 8 megabits of memory and a 400-megabyte hard drive cost between $3,000 and $4,000. Today, a laptop with 4 gigabytes of memory and a 500-gigabyte hard drive is less than $400.
The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, has been awarded a $28,460,408 modification (P00078) to exercise the option on contract FA8678-10-C-0100 for purchase of QF-16 Full-Scale Aerial Target (FSAT) Lot 3. This option is for the purchase of 25 QF-16 FSATs and 25 four-year warranties of the QF-16 drone-peculiar equipment. Work will be performed at Cecil Field, Florida, and is expected to be complete by Oct. 31, 2017. Fiscal 2014 and 2015 procurement funds in the amount of $28,460,408 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity.
Industry and hobbyist groups have partnered with the federal government to launch a campaign geared toward educating the soaring number of drone enthusiasts who are taking to the skies.
“Know Before You Fly” is an education campaign founded by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the Academy of Model Aeronautics and the Small UAV Coalition, which formed a partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to educate prospective users about the safe and responsible operation of unmanned aerial systems (UAS).
The Boeing Company, St. Louis, has been awarded a $27,685,574 modification (P00058) to FA8678-10-C-0100 for QF-16 Full-Scale Aerial Target (FSAT) Lot 2. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $158,649,517. The contract modification is for the exercise of the Lot 2 production option under the basic contract. This option is for the purchase of 23 QF-16 FSATs and 23 four-year warranties of the QF-16 Drone-Peculiar Equipment (DPE). The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity.
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc., San Diego, recently announced its Micro Systems Inc. subsidiary of its Advanced Drone and Targets Systems Division recently received a four-year Basic Ordering Agreement from the U.S. Navy valued at up to $29.6 million for unmanned aerial drone command and control systems and services. Kratos can be issued orders to provide engineering support and develop upgrades to unmanned aerial drone command and control electronics and related ground control stations over the next four years.