Our motto: Dronepocalypse Now

TechCrunch | 9/22/2019 | Staff
melanie7 (Posted by) Level 3
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Last week someone knocked out 5% of world oil production with a small swarm of drones and cruise missiles, and in doing so, inaugurated “a change in the nature of warfare globally,” to quote The Independent. These were relatively crude drones, too. Let’s pause a moment to imagine what happens if and when sophisticated autonomous drones become cheap enough for even small groups of technically capable insurgents and terrorists to use at scale.

There’s controversy over where and whom the Abqaiq–Khurais attack came from. Even in cases like this, where video exists and wreckage is indicative — “serial numbers on some of the missiles used by the Yemeni rebels in past attacks reveal their Iranian origin” — attribution is hard. What happens if and when autonomous attack drones can be built relatively easily from off-the-shelf parts?

Midst - Arms - Race - Video - Indra

We’re already in the midst of a new arms race. Here’s some video of Indra’s anti-drone system. Here’s Raytheon’s Windshear. Here’s Boeing’s Compact Laser Weapon System. Startups are in on the action too: Dedrone and especially Fortem.

The need for these defenses is obvious. Remember when small, unarmed commercial drones basically shut down the second busiest airport in the UK for days last year?

Drones - Ground

But, looking forward, will those detect small autonomous drones which hug the ground while avoiding...
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