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BAE Releases First Flight Footage of Semi-Autonomous “Taranis” Drone

In Archive, Drones, Military, Surveillance, Technology, UK on February 9, 2014 at 2:24 AM



The UK’s BAE Systems have unveiled footage of the unmanned combat drone, Taranis, on its maiden flight. While it hails the drone – capable of self-selecting targets – as “inspiration for nation,” activists are urging to ban the use of its auto-kill mode.

Named “Taranis” after the Celtic god of thunder, a new British unmanned aerial combat vehicle was displayed in its full glory in a short test-flight filmed last year.

Taranis is a semi-autonomous drone designed to carry out intercontinental flights and lethal strikes against both aerial and ground targets. The project, which has so far cost 185 million pounds ($300 million), is jointly funded by the UK Ministry of Defense and companies like Rolls Royce and General Electric.

What has become a target of public debate in particular, ever since the drone’s prototype was unveiled in 2010, is its stated capability of “deep target attacks” by means of its “fully autonomous intelligent system.”

This rang warning bells among some activists, who have raised questions about whether the robotic planes will be authorized to choose and destroy targets on their own, while apparently not having the ability to tell combatants and civilians apart.

Such a capability, which is also said to be included in drones like the American X-47B and the French Neuron, has opened up tempting new horizons for waging war for the military, but has also brought the issue of “killer robots” under the spotlight of international scrutiny.


Related Links:

Stop the Killer Robots: Expert Warns of Real-Life Skynet 

Rise of the Machines: Why Increasingly “Perfect” Weapons Help Perpetuate Wars and Endanger Our Nation

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