USAF begins implementing facial recognition on a few of its drone fleet
Why it issues: The U.S. Air Force has begun implementing facial recognition in its autonomous drones. The Air Force intends to make use of the know-how for intelligence gathering and in help of “different missions.” However, some concern that the U.S. may deploy drones for assassinations, and that even essentially the most superior methods should not one hundred pc correct.
The added options come from veteran Seattle tech agency RealNetworks. The identify may sound acquainted, because it’s the identical firm that delved into streaming earlier than anybody else. You could keep in mind RealPlayer from the late Nineties and a number of the intermittent stay broadcasts that media gamers may play.
Since then, RealNetworks has shifted its focus to machine studying and facial recognition, creating the Safe and Accurate Facial Recognition (SAFR) platform in 2018. New Scientist notes that in 2021, RealNetworks awarded a $729,000 Phase 2 protection contract to the Pentagon to adapt SAFR for small unmanned plane methods (sUAS).
RealNetworks accomplished the contract late final yr. In addition to flying by itself, the drones will be helpful in quite a lot of conditions, together with rescue missions, perimeter safety and home search operations, the corporate mentioned. The know-how additionally reduces danger to Air Force personnel in safety conditions, recognizing faces with 98.85 p.c accuracy.
Eric Hess, senior product supervisor at SAFR, instructed Airforce Technology in 2021 after profitable the bottom bid: “We see this as a novel alternative to point out how synthetic intelligence generally is a pressure multiplier and can be utilized to cut back safety forces and emergency response. Risk to Response Personnel.” Based on automobile methods.
Backers of the know-how say equipping robotic machines with the flexibility to tug a set off is harmful and unethical. Such a system can’t keep away from failure, and an indiscriminate self-driving automobile may hurt harmless folks. We not too long ago noticed this challenge overturn the San Francisco Police Department’s choice to permit robots to execute deadly pressure in conditions the place the lives of officers or residents have been threatened.
The U.S. Air Force says it will not fly drones with out human oversight. At any given time, the commander can have the operator challenge floor and different instructions to the sUAS. It’s necessary to notice that even human pilots should be given permission to fireside until the enemy has already engaged them.
Additionally, sUAS plane should not the identical as bigger fight drones. They’re not a lot bigger than their consumer-grade cousins (the above is among the bigger examples). While they are often weaponized, their small dimension limits their usefulness in fight, so they’re usually utilized in help missions for identification and patrol duties.
RealNetworks maintains an ongoing relationship with the Air Force. The sUAS program is the corporate’s newest contract with the navy. In addition to the drone mission, the corporate additionally obtained a fee in 2021 to implement its SAFR system into an unmanned floor automobile. Both contracts are a part of the U.S. Air Force Small Business Innovation Research Program. It additionally secured two early section 2 jobs by way of the $1.9 million AFWERX program.