28 Sep 12. The U.S. military’s current fleet of drones will soon be overtaken by a new wave of robots that will be faster, stealthier and smarter — operating virtually without human intervention, experts say.
The Pentagon is investing heavily in “autonomy” for robotic weapons, with researchers anticipating squadrons of drones in the air, land or sea that would work in tandem with manned machines — often with a minimum of supervision. Unmanned aircraft are now overseen by “pilots” on the ground but as the drones become more sophisticated, the role of remote operators will be more hands-off. Despite the dramatic advances in technology, the American military insists humans will remain in control when it comes to using lethal force. But the next generation of increasingly capable drones will stretch man’s capacity to control robots in battle, generating unprecedented moral and legal quandaries. (Source: Defense News)
28 Sep 12. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) welcomed the announcement from Capitol Hill that Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) formed the Senate Unmanned Aerial Systems Caucus. The mission of the bipartisan caucus will be to educate senators and staffers on the capabilities of unmanned systems and work closely together to best shape the unmanned systems policymaking process. Unmanned systems extend human potential, allowing us to execute dangerous or difficult tasks safely and efficiently. Whether bolstering search and rescue efforts; studying and aiding in natural and man-made disasters; or supporting security missions and protecting the environment, unmanned systems are capable of saving time, saving money and, more importantly, saving lives. Over the next decade, there will be an exponential growth in unmanned systems technology and operations. Congress will play a critical role in writing and passing laws that will set policy, direct oversight and provide direction for unmanned systems integration, development and utilization. The Senate Unmanned Aerial Systems Caucus will serve as a venue to discuss issues.