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Archive for the ‘military’ category

Feb 23, 2020

US Navy deploys first anti-drone laser dazzler weapon

Posted by in categories: drones, military, robotics/AI

The US Navy has successfully installed its first Optical Dazzling Interdictor, Navy (ODIN) laser weapon aboard one of its warships. During dry-dock operations, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105) received the stand-alone laser system, which is designed to blind the sensors on Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS).

The ODIN laser isn’t the first to be deployed on a US Navy warship. That honor goes to the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) Laser Weapon System (LaWS), which was deployed on the USS Ponce (LPD-15) in 2014. However, this experience by the team behind LaWS at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren Division provided the expertise needed to complete the development of ODIN.

Unlike other laser weapons that are designed to destroy targets with blasts of concentrated laser light, ODIN is what is known as a dazzler laser. That is, it’s one of a class of lasers that are intended to blind or distract rather than destroy. Though the legality of using such lasers against human pilots restricts them to only distracting the person by acting like the glare of oncoming headlamps, such lasers can also disable or destroy delicate optical sensors on drones.

Feb 23, 2020

This is a newspaper story about C

Posted by in categories: energy, military

Earl Ammann and his ‘atmospheric generator’ powered car:

Denver Post — Monday, August 8, 1921 Denver Man Invents Generator That Takes Electricity From Air & Propels Automobile Believes He has Apparatus that will Revolutionize Power & Lighting & Gives it a Test on Streets of City.

Has an invention been made that will revolutionize the electrical world? Will the apparatus conceived by a Denver man light buildings, run automobiles, battleships, power plants by the unlimited supply of electricity in the air? Denver electrical experts say “yes”, and the young inventor, C. Earl Ammann, Monday demonstrated his invention by attaching it to an old automobile and running it about the city.

Feb 23, 2020

Killer on patrol: China’s robot warship

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI

It’s cruising, at night, in the silky waters of the China Sea. And it only wants to kill you.

That’s the plan for China’s autonomous and deadly robot warship — a 20-ton, 15-meter, JARI USV that is much smaller than the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s manned Type −55 destroyer, but has all the same mission areas: anti-sub, anti-surface and anti-air, Defense News reported.

Developed by Chinese shipbuilder China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Company, it is an unmanned surface vessel that China wants to function essentially like the uninhabited baby brother of a US Arleigh Burke destroyer, the report said.

Feb 23, 2020

Smarticle robots built from smaller swarming robots

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, military, robotics/AI

Swarming 3D printed smarticles unlock new method of robot locomotion and may be able to form load-bearing structures

An accidental discovery about construction staples led to the development of the swarming robots. Nick Gravish, a doctoral student at Georgia Tech working on a project with the Army Research Laboratory, found that if these heavy duty staples were poured into a box with removable sides, they would self-assemble into tower structures that will stay standing even if the box was disassembled. This, he realised, meant that entangling simple structures could lead to the formation of a composite structure with mechanical properties well beyond those of the original structures.

Feb 19, 2020

Pentagon to Adopt Detailed Principles for Using AI

Posted by in categories: government, military, policy, robotics/AI

I am not naive — I’ve worked as an aerospace engineer for 35 years — I realize that PR can differ from reality. However, this indication gives me some hope:

“The draft recommendations emphasized human control of AI systems. “Human beings should exercise appropriate levels of judgment and remain responsible for the development, deployment, use, and outcomes of DoD AI systems,” it reads.”

This is far from a Ban on Killer Robots, however, given how many advances are being overturned in the US federal government (example: the US will now use landmines, after over 30 years of not employing them in war), this is somewhat encouraging.

Continue reading “Pentagon to Adopt Detailed Principles for Using AI” »

Feb 19, 2020

The clock is running for DARPA Launch Challenge, with stealthy Astra Space racing to win $10M prize

Posted by in categories: military, space travel

The DARPA Launch Challenge has begun, with a once-stealthy startup called Astra Space aiming to launch two rockets from an Alaska spaceport within the next month and a half to win a $10 million grand prize.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency set up the challenge in 2018 to serve as an added incentive for private-sector development of a highly mobile launch system that the military could use.

At first, DARPA specified that two orbital launches would have to be executed over the course of two weeks from completely separate launch sites in order to win the top prize. However, program manager Todd Master said the plan was changed for logistical and regulatory reasons. Dealing with all the hassles associated with launches from widely separated sites “wasn’t really our goal in solving the challenge,” Master told reporters today during a teleconference.

Continue reading “The clock is running for DARPA Launch Challenge, with stealthy Astra Space racing to win $10M prize” »

Feb 18, 2020

DARPA Wants Millions To Design An Unmanned ‘Flying Gun’ Under Its New Gunslinger Program

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI

Budget documents describe a gun-armed “missile” that would be able to engage multiple targets, either on the ground or in the air.

Feb 18, 2020

We cannot predict with any precision where technology will lead us

Posted by in categories: government, military, particle physics, privacy, robotics/AI, terrorism

Superb piece.

“But, I say we should pursue science and technology because, like Prometheus, the fires of invention burn bright, and although we may not always know where it leads us, a world darkened by the fear of treading upon the unknown, is unimaginable.”

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Feb 17, 2020

Op-ed | A Space Force needs spaceships

Posted by in categories: government, military, satellites

It has taken until the second decade of the 21st century, but the U.S. government has finally designated space to be a legitimate domain of military operations and has stood up the U.S. Space Force — that’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that the U.S. Space Force has no routine, reliable access to space.

The Space Force will operate in the near-Earth and cislunar domains like our current military operates in the domains of land, sea, and air. The Army and Marines have their land and air vehicles, the Navy has its surface ships and submarines, and the Air Force has its airplanes. But the assets being transferred to the Space Force — satellites and expendable launch vehicles — are akin to lighthouses, buoys, dirigibles, and coastal artillery because we have so far only treated space as a support service.

The U.S. Space Force must acquire responsive, routine, and reliable access to space — starting with launch systems optimize for reaching low Earth orbit (LEO). The Space Force must be equipped with a fleet of responsive, spacefaring vehicles under the operational purview of the Space Force’s equivalent of an Air Force colonel or Navy captain. Currently, the resource requirements for space launch are so large that only a three-star general of above to approve a mission; for launch to be truly operationally responsive, the required resources — and decision-making authority — must be driven down to a level comparable to what’s been required to send a B-2 Stealth Bomber or the now-retired SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft aloft.

Feb 16, 2020

The Killer Robot Takeover is Inevitable

Posted by in categories: internet, military, robotics/AI, space

VICE gained exclusive access to a small fleet of US Army bomb disposal robots—the same platforms the military has weaponized—and to a pair of DARPA’s six-foot-tall bipedal humanoid robots. We also meet Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams, renowned physicist Max Tegmark, and others who grapple with the specter of artificial intelligence, killer robots, and a technological precedent forged in the atomic age. It’s a story about the evolving relationship between humans and robots, and what AI in machines bodes for the future of war and the human race.

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