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Replacing Pilots with Robots

Written by on Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Drones are responsible for pulling pilots out of the sky and putting them in front of computer monitors. If you’re upset that the human element is being removed from the world of aerial combat, hold onto your seat: that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Recent advances in drone technology may enable the Air Force to remove human pilots altogether — as in run completely autonomous, uncontrolled drones capable of scouting and fighting independently. This is not a theoretical possibility; this type of technology has already been successfully tested in the field, and initial results are quite promising.

Late last year, military testers launched automated model planes that scanned an area in search of a predetermined target. These planes slowly zig-zagged over the area, patiently scanning for target. One of the planes, which carried an onboard computer, spotted the target and radioed a signal to a ground-based robot to travel to the location for a closer inspection.

This technology is somewhat rudimentary at the moment, but it could easily grow to create totally self-sufficient drones that can scout, identify, and destroy targets without a human being ever so much as touching a button. The implications of these buy cialis online advancements are both awe-inspiring and terrifying. On one hand, drones with this type of technology could operate tirelessly and cheaply, efficiently completing missions without much risk of human error. On the other hand, they completely remove the human element from the irreversible act of pulling a trigger. The immediate and rather troubling question that comes to mind is whether or not a computer can distinguish between armed combatant and civilian, between enemy and ally.

To that end, military officials are hoping that facial recognition software could be used to allow drones to single out specific targets and eliminate them with the cold efficiency of a science-fiction robot.

While this type of future may seem far-fetched, keep in mind that the US Air Force has already seamlessly made the transition to drone-dominated surveillance, an accomplishment that seemed impossible decades ago.

Is it truly possible that the intelligence and experience of a human pilot can be removed from aerial combat? Can a complicated computer program react with the same precision and shrewdness of an ace pilot? As unsettling as it may be, it’s looking like the answer may be “yes.”

If you want advice about the world of military aviation, there’s no better people to turn to than men and women who have sat in the cockpit and flown some of the world’s most advanced aircraft. With over 50 current and ex-warfighters on call, Strike Fighter Consulting Inc. can give you access to up-to-date, first-hand technical and tactical expertise.

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