Drones


U.N. can't confirm Saudi oil facilities and airport were attacked with Iranian weapons

The Japan Times

UNITED NATIONS – Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the United Nations has not been able to independently corroborate that the cruise missiles and drones used in attacks earlier this year on an airport and oil facilities in Saudi Arabia "are of Iranian origin." The U.N. chief said in a report to the council obtained Friday by The Associated Press that the U.N. also can't confirm that the missiles and drones were transferred from Iran "in a manner inconsistent" with the Security Council resolution that endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six key countries. The United States has blamed Iran for the attacks. The Saudis said the missiles and drones were Iranian but stopped short of accusing Iran of firing them. The U.N. chief said the U.N. examined debris from the weapon systems used in the attacks and is still collecting and analyzing additional information and trying to establish the supply chain.


AI expert warns against 'racist and misogynist algorithms'

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A leading expert in artificial intelligence has issued a stark warning against the use of race- and gender-biased algorithms for making critical decisions. Across the globe, algorithms are beginning to oversee various processes from job applications and immigration requests to bail terms and welfare applications. Military researchers are even exploring whether facial recognition technology could enable autonomous drones to identify their own targets. However, University of Sheffield computer expert Noel Sharkey told the Guardian that such algorithms are'infected with biases' and cannot be trusted. Calling for a halt on all AI with the potential to change people's lives, Professor Sharkey instead advocates for vigorous testing before they are used in public.


Premium potential of insurance and tech fusion - comment

#artificialintelligence

Although insurers have not moved as quickly as other financial services providers in embracing fintech, there are lots of opportunities and it is a sector to watch. Technology has already played a significant role in disrupting other areas of financial services – in banking and payments there has been an influx of fintech providers to the market. However, unlike the insurance sector, this digital disruption has been underpinned by legislative reforms and regulatory intervention. The absence of similar intervention in the insurance sector, coupled with challenges associated with legacy systems and strict regulation around the provision of insurance, means that there are major barriers to entry in the market. However, this does not mean that insurtech disruption is not feasible or indeed happening.


Premium potential of insurance and tech fusion - comment

#artificialintelligence

Although insurers have not moved as quickly as other financial services providers in embracing fintech, there are lots of opportunities and it is a sector to watch. Technology has already played a significant role in disrupting other areas of financial services – in banking and payments there has been an influx of fintech providers to the market. However, unlike the insurance sector, this digital disruption has been underpinned by legislative reforms and regulatory intervention. The absence of similar intervention in the insurance sector, coupled with challenges associated with legacy systems and strict regulation around the provision of insurance, means that there are major barriers to entry in the market. However, this does not mean that insurtech disruption is not feasible or indeed happening.


Turkey acquires new military drone with a machine gun mount that can fire bursts of 15 bullets

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Turkey will be the first customer for a new military drone with a machine gun mount that can fire single shots or 15-round bursts and carry a total of 200 rounds. Developed by the Asisguard, a technology firm in Ankara that specializes in military technology, the drone will use a laser sighting system to deliver a high degree of accuracy. The drone will also use a set of robotic braces to offset weapon recoil and ensure the drone's flight path isn't thrown off by firing. According to a report in the New Scientist, the drone will be able to hit targets as small as six inches from a distance of up to 650 feet. The 55-pound drone, called Songar, will be able to travel up to six miles at heights of up to 1.7 miles above ground.


Turkey is getting military drones armed with machine guns

New Scientist

A drone with a machine gun attached can hit targets with high precision, according to its makers. Turkey is set to become the first country to have the drone, when it gets a delivery this month. The 25-kilogram drone has eight rotating blades to get it in the air. Its machine gun carries 200 rounds of ammunition and can fire single shots or 15-round bursts. Many countries and groups already use small military drones that can drop grenades or fly into a target to detonate an explosive.


'Precision farming is key to growing better crops' - FutureFarming

#artificialintelligence

In its 4 year existence the Israeli start-up Taranis has seen huge growth. Taranis started as a tool to provide farmers with the information to detect and prevent crop disease, weeds and insect damage based on weather forecasts gathered from aerial surveillance. The technology was then further developed by adding visual layers from satellites, planes and drones and leveraged with AI capabilities. Taranis also created a one-of-a-kind, patented hardware that can capture accurate images at a high resolution from a plane flying at 160 km/h, such as a specific insect on a leaf from 200 feet above ground. Taranis CEO Ofir Schlam says the future of the precision farming industry is looking bright, with thousands of start-ups emerging within the last 10 years.


AI: Could It Be More Ethical Than Humans? – Analysis

#artificialintelligence

Artificial intelligence in autonomous systems (i.e., drones) can address human error and fatigue issues, but also, in the future, concerns over ethical behaviour on the battlefield. Installing an algorithmic "moral compass" in AI, however, will be challenging. A common theme among many discussions concerning the military uses of artificial intelligence (AI) is the "Skynet" trope: the fear that AI will be self-aware and decide to turn on its masters. Inherent in this argument is the contention that AI does not share the same ethical constraints that humans do. While almost certainly an over-exaggeration, the Skynet scenario does highlight the problem of ensuring that the ethical behaviour we believe is incumbent on humans in combat is not lost as we increasingly devolve battlefield decision-making to autonomous systems.


Team MAVLab Wins $1 Million as Autonomous Drone Racing Champions

#artificialintelligence

Team MAVLab received a $1 million cash prize for winning the 2019 Artificial Intelligence Robotic Racing Championship. Team MAVLab, the drone research lab of the Delft University of Technology, won a $1 million cash prize as the leading AlphaPilot team of the 2019 Artificial Intelligence Robotic Racing Circuit, the autonomous drone racing series that accelerates AI innovation through futuristic sports competition. The winning team was announced by Lockheed Martin and The Drone Racing League (DRL), the professional drone racing circuit, following the AIRR Championship, which took place Friday (December 6) at the Austin American-Statesman in Austin, Texas. Lockheed Martin sponsored the $1 million cash prize. The AIRR Championship marked the final race of a four-event series that aims to advance the development and testing of fully autonomous drone technologies for real-world applications including disaster relief, search and rescue missions, and space exploration.


Hacked flight records show how police using drones to conduct residential surveillance

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Flight records and related materials from police drone programs have been uncovered following a security breach at DroneSense, which provides services to a number of private corporations and government agencies. The records included flight paths, pilot names and email addresses, and operation names from more than 200 different drone flights, offering insight into how police use drones in day to day law enforcement. The records come from drone operations at the Atlanta Police Department, Nassau County Police Department, and others. The files also included information from other DroneSense clients, including Boise Fire Department, City of Coral Springs, and the US Army Corps of Engineers. According to a report in Vice, the records show a number of different police drone operations, including the Atlanta police using a drone to surveil an apartment complex and nearby parking lot.