Military


DJI: U.S. Army Won't Say Why It Banned Our Drones, Products

International Business Times

The U.S. Army ordered units to halt the use of DJI drones, it was revealed last week, but officials still won't say why it banned the company's products. DJI told International Business Times it reached out to officials about the direction to discontinue the use of its drones, but the U.S. army did not respond to them. "The US Army has not explained why it suddenly banned the use of DJI drones and components, what'cyber vulnerabilities' it is concerned about, or whether it has also excluded drones made by other manufacturers," DJI said. In a letter obtained by sUAS News, the U.S. Army Research Lab and U.S. Navy found there were operational risks associated with DJI products. The memo cited a classified report, "DJI UAS Technology Threat and User Vulnerabilities," and a U.S. Navy memo, "Operational Risks with Regards to DJI Family of Products."


U.S. Army Orders Units To Stop Using DJI Drones Over Concerns

International Business Times

The U.S. Army has ordered units to cease the use of DJI drones, according to a memo obtained by sUAS News. The letter, dated this week, said the U.S. Army Research Lab and U.S. Navy found there were operational risks linked to DJI equipments. Officials cited a classified report called "DJI UAS Technology Threat and User Vulnerabilities," as well as a U.S. Navy memorandum called "Operational Risks with Regards to DJI Family of Products." The report and the memo were both dated May 2017, which suggests officials have been looking into this for a while. In the letter, the U.S. Army's Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson said: "DJI Unmanned Aircraft Systems [UAS] products are the most widely used non-program of record commercial off-the-shelf UAS employed by the Army.


US Military: DARPA Grants $65 Million To Connect Human Brains With Digital Devices

International Business Times

A U.S. Military DARPA program is putting $65 million into the creation of an implantable device that will provide data-transfer between human brains and the digital world. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the emerging technology organization under the U.S. Department of Defense, announced Monday that five research institutions and one private corporation will be recipients of the brain-to-computer research grants. The program seeks to heighten hearing, sight and other sensory perception as well as creating a digital brain implant to relay neuron transmissions directly to digital devices. The recipients of the $65 million Materials for Transduction (MATRIX) program grants are: Brown University; Columbia University; University of California, Berkeley; Fondation Voir et Entendre (The Seeing and Hearing Foundation); John B. Pierce Laboratory and San Jose, California-based Paradromics, Inc. CEO Matt Angle's Paradromics Inc. is the mind-to-machine "Broadband for the brain" research company set to rake in as much as $18 million from the contract. He tells MIT Technology Review that the funding comes with a "moonshot" list of requirements, including the implant's size being smaller than a nickel and the mandatory ability to send signal back into the brain.


US Fighter Jet Downs Iranian Drone In Syria, Second Pro-Regime Aircraft Shot Down In 3 Days

International Business Times

The move was the second time in a week that it shot down a pro-Syrian government aircraft in the sky. "The armed pro-regime Shaheed-129 UAV was shot down by a U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle at approximately 12:30 a.m. Carla Babb, the Pentagon correspondent for Voice of America (VOA) tweeted Tuesday saying the sources have confirmed that the Iranian-made drone shot down by the U.S. fighter jet was being operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said the U.S. military shot down the Shahed 129 as it approached an established coalition combat outpost near al-Tanf in southeast Syria, where the U.S. is holding training sessions for local fighters against the Islamic State group, VOA reported. Officials also said that the shot Iranian aircraft was the same type of drone that a U.S. warplane had shot down June 8 after it attacked U.S.-backed fighters in southern Syria.


To Protect AI, Machine Learning Avances, US Wants To Chinese Investment Over Military Fears

International Business Times

U.S. officials reportedly are rethinking the advisability of allowing the Chinese to invest in sensitive technologies seen as vital to national security. Reuters reported Wednesday U.S. officials are concerned such cutting-edge technologies as artificial intelligence and machine learning could be used by the Chinese to augment their military capabilities and achieve greater advancements in strategic industries. Technology is the fastest growing industry in the United States, and China has funneled $45.6 billion into U.S. acquisitions and Greenfield investments in the last year, Rhodium Group found. That investment is expected to double this year. Read: What Is Artificial Intelligence?


THAAD Site Under Threat By North Korea? South Korea Accuses Pyongyang Of Spying Using Drone In Seongju Region

International Business Times

North Korea has been accused of spying on South Korea after a suspected Pyongyang drone was spotted on the site of a U.S. missile interceptor system, Seoul's military officials said Tuesday. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, which is designed to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles, is being deployed in Seongju in order to protect South Korea from Pyongyang's growing threats. According to Yonhap News, the small unmanned aerial vehicle equipped with a Sony-made camera was found last week on a mountain near the inter-Korean border. The drone had apparently crashed close to the THAAD site. The South's military took the drone in custody and analysed the content of the 64-gigabyte memory chip.


Humans Brains Could Be Connected To Computers If Elon Musk's Neuralink Is Approved

International Business Times

Connecting the human brain to computers is quickly becoming one of the hottest ideas in Silicon Valley, with Tesla's Elon Musk and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg among the many top tech entrepreneurs leading the charge. In March, Musk launched Neuralink, a medical research company that creates brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). Musk has previously expressed the importance of upgrading human cognition in order to ensure people are not made obsolete by artificial intelligence. BCIs would initially be used for medical research, with the ultimate goal being to blur the lines between people and artificial intelligence. Read: Will Robots Take Your Job? Elon Musk Thinks We Have 30 Years Until AI Is Better Than Us At Everything Neuralink has been registered as a medical research company, and Musk said they will produce a product to help people with severe brain injuries within four years, the Washington Post reports.


How Robotics Is Helping Military Veterans With Prosthetics

International Business Times

In 1905, an Ohio farmer survived a railroad accident that cost him both of his legs. Two years later, he founded the Ohio Willow Wood company, using the namesake timber to hand-carve prosthetic limbs. The company grew, surviving the Great Depression and a fire that destroyed the plant, and still thrives today in rural Ohio. Few who work there now might remember the curious footnote in the company's history that occurred during World War II, when the rebuilt factory was diversified to build parts for PT boats and B-17 bombers. Today, it is ironic to consider a company that specializes in prosthetic limbs building parts for the war machine that unfortunately increases demand on companies making prosthetic limbs.


Who is Abdul Hasib? Afghan ISIS Leader Killed In Special Forces Operation

International Business Times

U.S. Special Forces killed the head of the Islamic State group in Afghanistan last month, officials confirmed Sunday. Abdul Hasib died in a joint Afghan-U.S. operation in Nangarhar province April 27, Reuters reported. Hasib, who had been leading the faction since predecessor Hafiz Saeed Khan died in a U.S. drone strike last year, was believed the architect of several high-profile attacks, including a March 8 attack on Kabul's main military hospital that left dozens of medical staff and patients dead. Afghan President Ashrab Ghani also has accused Hasib of ordering the beheading of local elders in front of their families and the kidnapping of women and girls, who were forced to marry ISIS fighters. Two U.S. Army Rangers also died in the attack that killed Hasib, part of an operation that included drone strikes that began in March along the border with Pakistan.


US Coast Guard Plans To Use Voice Recognition To Stop Prank Calls

International Business Times

The U.S. Coast Guard has seen an uptick in the number of fake distress calls it has received in recent months and is looking to counter the problem with voice recognition technology, the Verge reported. Tasked with law enforcement and search and rescue missions in both domestic and international waters, fielding prank calls has become costly for the Coast Guard since it has to respond by deploying aircraft and clearing airspace for its mission. In response to the pranks, which have been happening nearly every day in recent months, the Coast Guard is planning to adopt voice recognition software to identify the phony callers. The fake calls come in through the Coast Guard's VHF radio channel, essentially the maritime version of 911. Unlike a typical phone call, the radio communications do not have any identifying information like a phone number -- and tracking the source of the transmission presents a number of challenges.