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Death by drone: How can states justify targeted killings?

Al Jazeera

In a move that caused a ripple effect across the Middle East, Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike near Baghdad's international airport on January 3. On that day, the Pentagon announced the attack was carried out "at the direction of the president". In a new report examining the legality of armed drones and the Soleimani killing in particular, Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial and arbitrary killings, said the US raid that killed Soleimani was "unlawful". Callamard presented her report at the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday. The United States, which is not a member after quitting the council in 2018, rejected the report saying it gave "a pass to terrorists". In Callamard's view, the consequences of targeted killings by armed drones have been neglected by states.


New drone attack AI tech tracks 'out of view' targets

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. What if a U.S. drone was closely tracking an armed enemy vehicle as it transits rough terrain, enters urban areas and comes closer to vulnerable target areas when, all of a sudden, the target leaves a sensor's field of view, becoming seemingly un-trackable? Not so fast, according to emerging AI-enabled tracking technology now being developed by CACI, a technology firm supporting the U.S. military. Fast-maturing algorithms are now able to analyze a host of variables at one time, at lightning speed, to discern a target's trajectory and continue tracking an object even after it has left a sensor's field of view.


These 7 robotic delivery companies are racing to bring shopping to your door

#artificialintelligence

By 2020, people thought the autonomous car would whisk you to the office while you read the paper and tackle your emails, then taking you home from the bar on a Friday evening. That remains lodged somewhere in the pipeline for now. But another slice of science fiction is on the way – robots that deliver your food -- and it's already knocking at the door. Robotic food delivery (or, increasingly, the delivery of anything that fits into a robot) is being tackled by a wide range of companies, from garage startups to retail giants. Many use six-wheeled robots designed to drive themselves along the sidewalk and the pathways of business parks and college campuses.


UK using drones to send coronavirus tests to remote Scottish islands

The Independent - Tech

The UK's new Space Agency funding will be used to support drones that deliver coronavirus testing kits to a Scottish island. Skyports, the company behind the drones, started a two-week trial in May with NHS Highland, which serves a group of islands off the west coast of Scotland. The technology was able to cut delivery times between Oban and the Isle of Mull to around 15 minutes, instead of going via road and taking a 45-minute ferry crossing. An initial £2.6 million was made available by the UK Space Agency and European Space Agency (ESA) to find and support space-enabled technologies and services that can support the NHS response to coronavirus. Skyports along with two other initiatives have been awarded a share of £1.1 million in funding, while the rest is open to bids until the end of September.


This AI system locates drone pilots flying too close to airports

#artificialintelligence

Scientists have built an AI tool that finds drone pilots flying dangerously close to airports or protected airspace. The system aims to reduce the risks drones pose to aircraft. Not only can they collide with planes, but they can also interfere with radio signals, causing a pilot to lose control of the aircraft. These risks have already caused chaos at a number of airports. Most notoriously, London's Gatwick airport was forced to shut down in December 2018 after drones were spotted near the runway.


Researchers Use AI to Spot Drone Pilots

#artificialintelligence

Law enforcement and military personnel might finally have a way to track malicious drones and prevent millions of dollars in damage thanks to new artificial intelligence research. Academics at Israel's Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have developed a way to locate the operator of a drone by looking at how the airborne vehicle moves. Locating the pilots of malicious drones is a pressing issue. In December 2018, Gatwick Airport had to close its runways to avoid drones flying dangerously close. Officers believed that it was a deliberate attack on the airport.


Robots, drones and surveillance apps: The unexpected future of medicine

ZDNet

Healthcare has often been sat on the sidelines when it comes to digital innovations. Part of that is because these services are often under-funded and what resources they do have are channelled into front-line care as much as possible. But it's becoming increasingly clear that technology can play a role in helping doctors deal with the ever-rising pressure to deliver more services. The response to the cornonavirus crisis, which has seen the broad adoption of everything from video conferencing to AI, is unlikely to be undone; expect the future of healthcare to feature more data analysis and automation. With many of those contracting COVID-19 picking up the disease in hospital and medical staff suffering significant levels of infection themselves, robots could offer a way of delivering hospital care while reducing the chances of person-to-person transmissions. Prior to COVID-19, robots were mostly used in operating theatres, under the control of surgeons.


Researchers Use AI to Spot Drone Pilots

#artificialintelligence

Law enforcement and military personnel might finally have a way to track malicious drones and prevent millions of dollars in damage thanks to new artificial intelligence research. Academics at Israel's Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have developed a way to locate the operator of a drone by looking at how the airborne vehicle moves. Locating the pilots of malicious drones is a pressing issue. In December 2018, Gatwick Airport had to close its runways to avoid drones flying dangerously close. Officers believed that it was a deliberate attack on the airport.


Air Force tech stops drones from being shot down

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. Senior Air Force commanders are employing new tactics, technologies and protocols to better safeguard drones from being shot down by enemy fire during missions. Air Force Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, the commander of U.S. Forces Europe, recently told reporters that senior U.S. military leaders are now in an effort to increase mission survivability for combat drones operating in high-risk areas. Responding to a question about an MQ-9 Reaper being shot down over Yemen last year, Harrigian emphasized that drone operations need to become less predictable to enemies. "There is something to be said for operating in a manner that offers us an opportunity to not be as predictable as we have been.


US killing of Iran's Qassem Soleimani 'unlawful': UN expert

Al Jazeera

The US drone strike that killed Iran's top general Qassem Soleimani was "unlawful", the United Nations expert on extrajudicial killings concluded in a report on Tuesday. US President Donald Trump ordered the killing in a January 3 drone strike near Baghdad international airport. Soleimani was "the world's top terrorist" and "should have been terminated long ago", Trump said at the time. Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed in the attack. Callamard concluded that it was an "arbitrary killing" that violated the UN charter.