The first test footage of the UK’s controversial autonomous drone has been released, Taranis, designed and built in the UK by BAE Systems.
The unmanned robot which was first announced in 2010 caused a stir with activists due to it’s “deep target attacks” by its “fully autonomous intelligent system.” Which is unclear if the robot will be able to autonomously unload its weapons, onto which it will be unstable to differentiate between combatants and civilians as it speeds past.
The Taranis, taking its namesake after a Celtic god of thunder, has a wing span of about 9 meters, is 11-meter long and weighs in at 8 tons. It’s a “semi-autonomous” drone which is designed to execute intercontinental flights alongside lethal aerial and ground strikes which has cost around £185 million with funding from the UK Ministry of Defence alongside companies such as Rolls Royce and General Electric (of which BAE Systems is a subsidiary).
These “intelligent” attacks are already in place in other countries military drones, such as the American X-47B and the French Neuron, and has swiftly lead to opposition of the use of robotic systems in warfare. With many taking a stance against their use, such as Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams who is leading a campaign to have the use of robots and autonomous systems capable of determining to fire weapons discussed at Geneva.
The video shows some simple manoeuvres in air and take off and landing capabilities of the drone, with a second promotional video claiming the system to be world leading and “an inspiration to the nation” (a sentiment I’d heavily disagree with, as a Briton).
What are you thoughts on robotic war systems? An inevitable transition for technology and the logical step in the arms race, or an unethical and unquestionably wrong move? Let us know in the comment section.