DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- A pair of B-52 bombers flew over the Mideast on Sunday, the latest such mission in the region aimed at warning Iran amid tensions between Washington and Tehran. The flight by the two heavy bombers came as a pro-Iran satellite channel based in Beirut broadcast Iranian military drone footage of an Israeli ship hit by a mysterious explosion only days earlier in the Mideast. While the channel sought to say Iran wasn't involved, Israel has blamed Tehran for what it described as an attack on the vessel. The U.S. military's Central Command said the two B-52s flew over the region accompanied by military aircraft from nations including Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It marked the fourth-such bomber deployment into the Mideast this year and the second under President Joe Biden.
For anyone who has ever misplaced their iPhone, Apple's "Find My" app is a game-changer that borders on pure magic. Sign into the app, tap a button to sound an alarm on your MIA device, and, within seconds, it'll emit a loud noise -- even if your phone is set on silent mode -- that allows you to go find the missing handset. Yeah, it's usually stuck behind your sofa cushions or left facedown on a shelf somewhere. You can think of SArdo, a new drone project created by researchers at Germany's NEC Laboratories Europe GmbH, as Apple's "Find My" app on steroids. The difference is that, while finding your iPhone is usually just a matter of convenience, the technology developed by NEC investigators could be a literal lifesaver.
Dutch cress grower Rob Baan has enlisted high-tech helpers to tackle a pest in his greenhouses: palm-sized drones seek and destroy moths that produce caterpillars that can chew up his crops. "I have unique products where you don't get certification to spray chemicals and I don't want it," Baan said in an interview in a greenhouse bathed in the pink glow of LED lights that help his seedlings grow. His company, Koppert Cress, exports aromatic seedlings, plants and flowers to top-end restaurants around the world. A keen adopter of innovative technology in his greenhouses, Baan turned to PATS Indoor Drone Solutions, a startup that is developing autonomous drone systems as greenhouse sentinels, to add another layer of protection for his plants. The drones themselves are basic, but they are steered by smart technology aided by special cameras that scan the airspace in greenhouses.
A research group has developed an autonomous robotic team of devices that can be used at hazardous or difficult-to-reach sites to make surveys and collect data--providing more and faster insights than human beings are able to deliver. These robot teams--composed of autonomous devices that gather data on the ground, in the air, and in water--would be ideally suited for hazardous environmental situations and/or for holistic environmental surveys of ecosystems. An autonomous team like this could do a survey and rapidly sample what's in the air and the water so that people could be kept out of harm's way. In another context, the robots could provide a general survey of ecosystems, or they could look at situations such as harmful algal blooms in lakes. A recent demonstration in the field showed how the autonomous robotic team can rapidly learn the characteristics of environments it has never seen before. Researchers hope the robot team prototype can be a model for changing the methods that are used to survey disaster sites, waterways, and extreme environments.
Toby Walsh, a professor of AI at the University of Sydney, told CNBC the dangers have only "become nearer and more serious" since the letter was published. "Autonomous weapons must be regulated," he said. The Future of Life Institute, a non-profit research institute in Boston, Massachusetts, said last month there are many positive military applications for AI but "delegating life and death decisions to autonomous weapon systems is not one of them." The institute pointed out that autonomous drones could be used for reconnaissance missions to avoid putting troops in danger, while AI could also be used to power defensive anti-missile guns which detect, target, and destroy incoming threats without a human command. "Neither application involves a machine selecting and attacking humans without an operator's green light," it said.
Three years ago, Customs and Border Protection placed an order for self-flying aircraft that could launch on their own, rendezvous, locate and monitor multiple targets on the ground without any human intervention. In its reasoning for the order, CBP said the level of monitoring required to secure America's long land borders from the sky was too cumbersome for people alone. To research and build the drones, CBP handed $500,000 to Mitre Corp., a trusted nonprofit Skunk Works that was already furnishing border police with prototype rapid DNA testing and smartwatch hacking technology. They were "tested but not fielded operationally" as "the gap from simulation to reality turned out to be much larger than the research team originally envisioned," a CBP spokesperson says. This year, America's border police will test automated drones from Skydio, the Redwood City, Calif.-based startup that on Monday announced it had raised an additional $170 million in venture funding at a valuation of $1 billion. That brings the total raised for Skydio to $340 million.
Skydio has been making headlines lately for being the first U.S.-based drone manufacturer to be valued at more than $1 billion in fundraising. The company has found a willing customer base in police forces across the United States, too, according to a report from Forbes. Nothing to be concerned about, surely, just flying artificial intelligence controlled by a group known for its abuses of power. At least 20 police agencies across the country own drones from Skydio, based on information Forbes obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and Skydio's own public announcements. Those agencies include major cities like Boston and Austin, according to the report.
General Jack Keane, Fox News senior strategic analyst, reacts to the decision on'Fox & amp; Friends.' The Biden administration has ordered temporary limits on drone strikes outside war zones, rolling back a Trump-era policy, as President Biden reviews "legal and policy frameworks governing these matters," the National Security Council told Fox News. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne, in a statement to Fox News, said that at the beginning of the Biden administration the president "established new interim guidance concerning the United States' use of military force and related national security operations." "The purpose of the interim guidance is to ensure the President has full visibility on proposed significant actions into these areas while the National Security Council staff lead a thorough interagency review of the extant authorizations and delegations of Presidential authority with respect to these matters," Horne said. Horne told Fox News that Biden's review "is now underway and will include an examination of the legal and policy frameworks governing these matters."
A new anti-drone kit billed as the Swiss Army Knife of drone defenses just debuted from French company CERBAIR. The drone detection and mitigation tool--the business end of which is a hip-fired electromagnetic rifle--is emblematic of a growing urgency to develop security tools for guarding against rogue drone attacks. The prevalence and growing sophistication of drones has created a serious obstacle for law enforcement. Commercially available drones can be used to threaten government officials and carry out attacks during public gatherings and events. A joint multi-agency threat assessment issued prior to then-incoming President Biden's inauguration listed drones as a potential threat.
For the past few months, an independent board of technology experts has been closely tracking the new ways that AI and data have been used to counter and mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK; and now, they are lifting the veil on the good, the bad and the ugly of the past year in digital tech. The Center for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) has released a new report diving deep into the 118 individual use-cases for AI and data-driven technologies that have been added to the organization's COVID-19 repository since last November. Spanning vastly different sectors and locations, the examples collated in the document provide a unique vision of the ways that technology can help in a time of crisis. From piloting drones to delivering medical supplies, to monitoring the behavior of residents in public transport during the easing of lockdown restrictions: if there is one observation that all experts will agree on, it is certainly that technology has been a central pillar in the support of the response to the pandemic. "While public attention largely centred on high-profile applications aimed at either suppressing the virus or coping with its effects, our research highlights the breadth of applications beyond these two use-cases," says the report.