General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Department of Defense's Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) to develop enhanced autonomous sensing capabilities for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The JAIC Smart Sensor project aims to advance drone-based AI technology by demonstrating object recognition algorithms and employing onboard AI to automatically control UAV sensors and direct autonomous flight. GA-ASI will deploy these new capabilities on a MQ-9 Reaper UAV equipped with a variety of sensors, including GA-ASI's Reaper Defense Electronic Support System (RDESS) and Lynx Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). GA-ASI's Metis Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) tasking and intelligence-sharing application, which enables operators to specify effects-based mission objectives and receive automatic notification of actionable intelligence, will be used to command the unmanned aircraft. J.R. Reid, GA-ASI Vice President of Strategic Development, commented: "GA-ASI is excited to leverage the considerable investment we have made to advance the JAIC's autonomous sensing objective. This will bring a tremendous increase in unmanned systems capabilities for applications across the full-range of military operations."
Amazon has confirmed that it is laying off a number of people working on its internal drone delivery project. The Financial Times reported that the mega-retailer had opted to shrink its internal team in favor of using external contractors to complete the work. The report's anonymous sources said that executives were frustrated at the speed of progress, leading to the change in strategy. The first two companies to sign up are FACC Aerospace from Austria and Aernnova Aerospace from Spain, which are both component manufacturers. Reportedly, other businesses are expected to sign up in the near future, as Amazon tries to push Prime Air closer to reality.
Two menacing men stand next to a white van in a field, holding remote controls. They open the van's back doors, and the whining sound of quadcopter drones crescendos. They flip a switch, and the drones swarm out like bats from a cave. In a few seconds, we cut to a college classroom. The students scream in terror, trapped inside, as the drones attack with deadly force. The lesson that the film, Slaughterbots, is trying to impart is clear: tiny killer robots are either here or a small technological advance away. And existing defences are weak or nonexistent.
At the end of September, amidst its usual flurry of fall hardware announcements, Amazon debuted two especially futuristic products within five days of each other. The first is a small autonomous surveillance drone, Ring Always Home Cam, that waits patiently inside a charging dock to eventually rise up and fly around your house, checking whether you left the stove on or investigating potential burglaries. The second is a palm recognition scanner, Amazon One, that the company is piloting at two of its grocery stores in Seattle as a mechanism for faster entry and checkout. Both products aim to make security and authentication more convenient--but for privacy-conscious consumers, they also raise red flags. Amazon's latest data-hungry innovations are not launching in a vacuum.
Powerful local processors can remove the need for a device to have a cloud connection. Along the coastline of Australia's New South Wales (NSW) state hovers a fleet of drones, helping to keep the waters safe. Earlier this year, the drones helped lifeguards at the state's Far North Coast rescue two teenagers who were struggling in heavy surf. The drones are powered by artificial-intelligence (AI) and machine-vision algorithms that constantly analyze their video feeds and highlight items that need attention: say, sharks, or stray swimmers. This is the same kind of technology that enables Google Photos to sort pictures, a home security camera to detect strangers, and a smart fridge to warn you when your perishables are close to their expiration dates.
Ring's Always Home Cam is an indoor security camera drone. Ring on Thursday introduced a new product to its growing roster of smart home devices -- the Ring Always Home Cam. Unlike the Amazon company's other security cameras, the Always Home Cam is a flying camera drone that docks when it isn't in use. The Ring Always Home Cam will be available in 2021 for $250. Along with this hardware announcement, Ring says you'll be able to turn on end-to-end encryption in the Ring app's Control Center "later this year" in an effort to improve the security of its devices.
Be prepared in the near future when you gaze into the blue skies to perceive a whole series of strange-looking things – no, they will not be birds, nor planes, or even superman. They may be temporarily, and in some cases startlingly mistaken as UFOs, given their bizarre and ominous appearance. But, in due course, they will become recognized as valuable objects of a new era of human-made flying machines, intended to serve a broad range of missions and objectives. Many such applications are already incorporated and well entrenched in serving essential functions for extending capabilities in our vital infrastructures such as transportation, utilities, the electric grid, agriculture, emergency services, and many others. Rapidly advancing technologies have made possible the dramatic capabilities of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV/drones) to uniquely perform various functions that were inconceivable a mere few years ago.
I always know a new product is excellent when its makers describe it as "next-level." I hear you moan, on seeing the new, wondrous Ring Always Home Cam. Also: When is Prime Day 2020? Oh, how can you be such a killjoy? When Amazon's Ring describes it as "Next-Level Compact, Lightweight, Autonomously Flying Indoor Security Camera," surely you leap toward your ceiling and exclaim: "Finally, something from Amazon I actually want! A drone that flies around my living room!"
I actually had to double-check my calendar to make sure today wasn't April Fool's. Because watching the intro video of an indoor surveillance drone operated by Amazon seemed like just the sort of geeky joke you'd expect on April 1. But it isn't April Fools, and besides, Google has always been the one with the twisted sense of humor. Amazon has always been the one with the twisted sense of world domination. This was a serious press briefing.
Consumer drones are notorious for being hard to fly at first, before you learn what you're doing, and the odds are, you will crash it. So how about a drone that flies automatically, in the home as a roaming security camera? One the manufacturer promises won't crash into a ceiling fan or a flower pot, because it has obstacle avoidance technology. And flies back into its cradle when the flight is complete. Jamie Siminoff, the founder of the Amazon Ring subsidiary, insists that it will because there's an app for it.