Drone Completes First-Ever Automated Carrier Landing

Drone Completes First-Ever Automated Carrier Landing

A U.S. Navy drone named "Salty Dog 502" has successfully completed the first aircraft carrier landing ever carried out by an unmanned, automated machine.

Today is a historic day, my friends, for today we have met the vanguard of our destruction. A U.S. Navy X-47B drone with the innocuous-sounding nickname "Salty Dog 502" has performed the first-ever automated landing aboard an aircraft carrier, taking humanity one giant leap closer to annihilation.

An automated landing may not seem like a big deal, but landing on an aircraft carrier is one of the hardest jobs there is for a human pilot. The deck itself is a relatively tiny strip of real estate floating on the undulating waves of the sea, you're approaching it at something just shy of ludicrous speed and putting wheels on it is just half the battle: You also have to catch a steel cable with your arrestor hook or it's back around for another try, assuming you don't end up in the drink.

The X-47B is a "tailless, strike-fighter sized aircraft" developed by Northrop Grumman under the Navy's Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) program. The Northrop Grumman website says the X-47B "is designed to help the U.S. Navy explore the future of unmanned carrier aviation" and will "help set the stage for the development of a more permanent, carrier-based fleet of unmanned aircraft."

And in case there was any doubt, Salty Dog 502 performed the carrier landing not just once, but twice. We are so doomed.

Source: U.S. Navy (YouTube)

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For some odd reason this video came to mind:

http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_suarez_the_kill_decision_shouldn_t_belong_to_a_robot.html

Either way, its a great step forward for automated equipment, and I personally see it as a good thing.

For the moment that is...

This makes me nervous. Has nobody in power seen any robot apocalypse movie?

why wont they stop.... skynet is getting ever closer.... ;.; i dont want to die.

Damn that is a beautiful machine.

I cant wait to see some videos of a fully automated drone in action.

Soon we will build armies of them and further America's greatest goal:
To have toppled the government of every country on earth through aerial bombing...

INCLUDING OUR OWN

image

Evil Smurf:
This makes me nervous. Has nobody in power seen any robot apocalypse movie?

Pretty much every engineer looks at those and says "that would make a great idea for my next grant proposal! Minus the them taking over of course but seriously! DARPA FUNDING HERE I COME

We'll make exoskeletons! Yeah! Robotic exoskeletons with gattling gun hands and rocket launcher backpacks! WOO HOO

One stroll through a VA rehabilitation center tells me that hardware should be doing the grunts' work.

Short term this technology would make pilots' tasks much easier, as they can just have autopilot on when landing or during other precision-demanding operations (not that physical pilots in the air are required any longer).

Long term, it's another (arguably significant) step towards robotizised warfare. With Drones being produced on an unprecedented scale and countries accelerating an arms race involving weapons requiring much less human interaction, if any at all, to operate without incident, anyone could have seen this development coming years ago. And it isn't going away.

But this could be applied to civilian life as well. Transportation could become cheaper (once the technology can be mass produced efficiently enough), and be of greater capacity as it would no longer be restricted to humans to operate. And that's just one area where it could prove to be extremely useful.

As for a rise of the machines scenario, we still have a long way to go. And it isn't necessary to give an AI-controlled weapon singularity level intelligence to perform simple tasks like patrolling, acquiring targets, identifying friend and foe, etc. It sounds simple enough in THEORY at least. Currently the track record of Drones has been horrendous for example, with many reports of innocent civilians killed, and that's still with human observance involved. So full automation at this point is far from promising.

Of course there are the moral issues involving this, which have been averted for far too long. This is something that needs to be discussed and debated, by both the public and governments alike.

When giving all power to a machine, can anyone be held responisble for it's actions?

Stuff like this makes me very nervous, it trivializes the already dark matter of warfare and the fact that the U.S. government wants some 30,000 drones over its skies in the next couple of decades makes it only more worrisome.

Evil Smurf:
This makes me nervous. Has nobody in power seen any robot apocalypse movie?

I am not worried that it will develop a separate agenda, I am worried that these things could automate killing and/or be deployed in unprecedented numbers with a far-away pilot detached from the gravity of their actions (however there are studies saying that drone pilots due to the constant disparity between their professional and personal life can develop serious mental problems since they do not live on base).

Lastly, as advanced as drones are they are still new and prone to not only crashing but do not have powerful enough sensors to truly verify the data that they are ever more expected to relay that will determine whether someone lives or dies and are being piloted by a far away pilot who will be willing to take greater risks as their life is not in danger

This is actually one of those things where I kind of assumed it had already happened. Makes me feel like the future is getting here just a tad late.

Automated warfare is apparently the dream of USAs military. Can't say I like the idea.

Yelchor:
Currently the track record of Drones has been horrendous for example, with many reports of innocent civilians killed, and that's still with human observance involved.

Weapons fired from a drone are no less accurate than one fired from a conventional aircraft, the weapons and targeting systems are essentially the same. The fault lies with the ones giving the orders, there is still no way to attack targets surrounded by civilians safely. Yet they feel its necessary to try and kill a handful of people or even a single person by flying a drone over and dropping something nasty on them, even though they know full well there is a good chance innocent people will be killed.

Thats not even counting intelligence blunders where there was no target present or they attack the wrong building.

Hooyah Navy!

Seriously, this is awesome.

I for one welcome our increasingly-capable robot overlords and eventual drone-wrought eradication.

Yelchor:
Short term this technology would make pilots' tasks much easier, as they can just have autopilot on when landing or during other precision-demanding operations (not that physical pilots in the air are required any longer).

Long term, it's another (arguably significant) step towards robotizised warfare. With Drones being produced on an unprecedented scale and countries accelerating an arms race involving weapons requiring much less human interaction, if any at all, to operate without incident, anyone could have seen this development coming years ago. And it isn't going away.

But this could be applied to civilian life as well. Transportation could become cheaper (once the technology can be mass produced efficiently enough), and be of greater capacity as it would no longer be restricted to humans to operate. And that's just one area where it could prove to be extremely useful.

As for a rise of the machines scenario, we still have a long way to go. And it isn't necessary to give an AI-controlled weapon singularity level intelligence to perform simple tasks like patrolling, acquiring targets, identifying friend and foe, etc. It sounds simple enough in THEORY at least. Currently the track record of Drones has been horrendous for example, with many reports of innocent civilians killed, and that's still with human observance involved. So full automation at this point is far from promising.

Of course there are the moral issues involving this, which have been averted for far too long. This is something that needs to be discussed and debated, by both the public and governments alike.

When giving all power to a machine, can anyone be held responisble for it's actions?

This particular drone is completely automated. It doesn't need a human pilot. All it needs is orders, it will then be able to launch itself, carry out its orders, and return to base once its done.

As for current drone's track records... They are pretty damn good.

So what if they have killed a few enemy civilians? Thats not because they missed. They have been remarkably accurate. Those targets were still hit by pilots. Those same pilots would have taken the shots if they had been piloting an F22 or a drone.

knight4light:
why wont they stop.... skynet is getting ever closer.... ;.; i dont want to die.

Well, what you want and what the cold, logical, unyielding, steely fist of the machine wants are two different things.

Look, the Meat Camps won't be THAT bad. You'll probably get tossed in the grinder on the same day it's scheduled to be cleaned of gore, so you won't even have to die with the smell of week old organ-paste filling your nostrils!

Give a drone a cute nickname and apparently people will forget they're being used for some extremely horrific bombing operations, even ones where we have no idea who's on the ground.

We're coming closer and closer to the days where we let the robots decide who lives and who dies, automated killing. You'd think it's something you only see in movies but America, and I presume other nations, are researching that kind of technology, and that's so depressing I try my hardest to pretend that isn't the future we face.

fully automated robots are currently in service. the south koreans have used them to patrol the dmz for the last 5 years. yes its armed witha machine gun and grenade launcher too and can identify people who put their hands up in surrender when it demands a pass phrase.

idarkphoenixi:
Give a drone a cute nickname and apparently people will forget they're being used for some extremely horrific bombing operations, even ones where we have no idea who's on the ground.

We're coming closer and closer to the days where we let the robots decide who lives and who dies, automated killing. You'd think it's something you only see in movies but America, and I presume other nations, are researching that kind of technology, and that's so depressing I try my hardest to pretend that isn't the future we face.

You know the old saying.

"It is darkest before the dawn."

Humanity will have to pass through the darkest of times before things get better for them. Atleast we get to live through a COOL dark time where there are murder bots instead of people with torches and holy books.

And why is that big news? Because drones are still shit at piloting.
In 2012 alone 14 of them crashed, all without enemy involvement. Not counting small UAVs, which have a tendency to smash into the ground so often it's ridiculous.

idarkphoenixi:
Give a drone a cute nickname and apparently people will forget they're being used for some extremely horrific bombing operations, even ones where we have no idea who's on the ground.

Which is different from regular bombers how?

Desert Punk:

As for current drone's track records... They are pretty damn good.

So what if they have killed a few enemy civilians? Thats not because they missed. They have been remarkably accurate. Those targets were still hit by pilots. Those same pilots would have taken the shots if they had been piloting an F22 or a drone.

I'll clarify. The Drones have proven to be excellent killing machines that can survey an immense area and deal with a target at any time.

What I was refering to was the overuse of signature strikes, where you're basically firing at unidentified targets based on a hunch.

And we're not talking about a few civilians (I'm not quite certain what you mean by "enemy civilians". Either they are combatants or non-combatants, aka posing no threat). Nearly a thousand have been killed by these strikes in Yemen, which is minimal compared to Pakistan where that number has been in the thousands. And keep in mind, these are numbers of the ones that have been able to be confirmed. The numbers could in fact be much higher. And it doesn't help either that all targets killed in drone strikes are automatically listed as enemy combatants without any sort of investigation. An example of these blunders would be the Datta Khel incident in 2011, where a public meeting of a community was attacked without warning by seemingly ignorant drone pilots. And this is just the tip of an iceberg.

Were the Drones at fault? No, for they cannot make decisions on their own, but the effects of these technologies are already becoming obvious. It distances the pilot from the action. It's much easier to pull the trigger when you're on the other side of the world sitting in front of a computer screen. When you don't feel as involved or responsible for what happens in a warzone, chances are you won't be as hesitant to utilise lethal force. And this mentality will likely only increase in regularity as these veichles become more independent.

Simply put, the usage of these weapons has been atrociously reckless. While disregard for human life is no new issue among military operations, the distancing effect that these emerging technologies bring to the user is certainly not helping.

Yelchor:

Desert Punk:

As for current drone's track records... They are pretty damn good.

So what if they have killed a few enemy civilians? Thats not because they missed. They have been remarkably accurate. Those targets were still hit by pilots. Those same pilots would have taken the shots if they had been piloting an F22 or a drone.

I'll clarify. The Drones have proven to be excellent killing machines that can survey an immense area and deal with a target at any time.

What I was refering to was the overuse of signature strikes, where you're basically firing at unidentified targets based on a hunch.

And we're not talking about a few civilians (I'm not quite certain what you mean by "enemy civilians". Either they are combatants or non-combatants, aka posing no threat). Nearly a thousand have been killed by these strikes in Yemen, which is minimal compared to Pakistan where that number has been in the thousands. And keep in mind, these are numbers of the ones that have been able to be confirmed. The numbers could in fact be much higher. And it doesn't help either that all targets killed in drone strikes are automatically listed as enemy combatants without any sort of investigation. An example of these blunders would be the Datta Khel incident in 2011, where a public meeting of a community was attacked without warning by seemingly ignorant drone pilots. And this is just the tip of an iceberg.

Were the Drones at fault? No, for they cannot make decisions on their own, but the effects of these technologies are already becoming obvious. It distances the pilot from the action. It's much easier to pull the trigger when you're on the other side of the world sitting in front of a computer screen. When you don't feel as involved or responsible for what happens in a warzone, chances are you won't be as hesitant to utilise lethal force. And this mentality will likely only increase in regularity as these veichles become more independent.

Simply put, the usage of these weapons has been atrociously reckless. While disregard for human life is no new issue among military operations, the distancing effect that these emerging technologies bring to the user is certainly not helping.

Good points, I think another to add would be that these weapons aren't solely in the hands of military units like fighter craft or bombers are, we are allowing people like the CIA to operate the drones, who have less oversight in general than the military does. I think mosto f the more recklas drone strikes have been done by intelligence services than military units.

And when I say Enemy Civilians, I mean generally not allied civilians. A number of people feel less inclined to protect the civilians of an enemy, and if they are associating with targets then guilt by association and what not. Not saying it is right, just that it is a known mental state.

Damn, it only took 502 tries to get this to work.
Most experiments take a lot longer than that!

Well now we've pretty much mastered the tech of autopiloting I guess.

Desert Punk:
Good points, I think another to add would be that these weapons aren't solely in the hands of military units like fighter craft or bombers are, we are allowing people like the CIA to operate the drones, who have less oversight in general than the military does. I think mosto f the more recklas drone strikes have been done by intelligence services than military units.

And when I say Enemy Civilians, I mean generally not allied civilians. A number of people feel less inclined to protect the civilians of an enemy, and if they are associating with targets then guilt by association and what not. Not saying it is right, just that it is a known mental state.

Indeed. It is the CIA that has been in charge of at least the majority of drones deployed outside the United States, which has become more of a para-military organisation in this most recent decade.

And while I don't know what sort of mindset is encouraged, directly or indirectly, to people such as drone operators, the track record shows a severe disregard for the Geneva Conventions.

Humans won't be removed from villainhood by artificial intelligences for a time yet as it is now.

Crazie_Guy:
This is actually one of those things where I kind of assumed it had already happened. Makes me feel like the future is getting here just a tad late.

The probably didn't show us the previous 20 or 30 videos of drones hitting the deck, or going off the end into the sea :)

It's an impressive craft.

This new aircraft totally doesn't remind me of EDI from the film Stealth.

inb4 it downloads all the songs and goes on it's own little tangent.

image

The Navy likes their drones BIG, don't they?

Maybe I'm just too used to seeing Predator drones on TV or something.

Automated, cold, heartless war machines? Well if they go bananas at least we'll be able to shoot guns at them and not feel guilty. It can be very therapeutic.

Well it can take off and land. Now we just need to teach it how to fight.

MinionJoe:
The Navy likes their drones BIG, don't they?

Maybe I'm just too used to seeing Predator drones on TV or something.

They deliberately made it similar size to conventional aircraft for comparison purposes.

Yelchor:

Desert Punk:
Were the Drones at fault? No, for they cannot make decisions on their own, but the effects of these technologies are already becoming obvious. It distances the pilot from the action. It's much easier to pull the trigger when you're on the other side of the world sitting in front of a computer screen. When you don't feel as involved or responsible for what happens in a warzone, chances are you won't be as hesitant to utilise lethal force. And this mentality will likely only increase in regularity as these veichles become more independent.

While that is true, bomber pilots have always been fairly distant from the action, and even moreso the people giving the orders.

[quote="Desert Punk" post="7.821629.19854925"]This particular drone is completely automated. It doesn't need a human pilot. All it needs is orders, it will then be able to launch itself, carry out its orders, and return to base once its done.

Do you have a source for this?

...

Anyway, I'm not too worried about autonomous drones for political reasons. The first time there's a friendly fire incident they'll be grounded, and target identification is a massive issue. People have weapons that work beyond visual range that they hardly ever use because of this.

It's amazing, the things that they can get these things to do, now. Size is also pretty darn impressive, though I doubt that the production versions will be quite that big.

Heh, at this point, it's only a matter of time until FedEx or some other shipping company adopts this. Can you imagine that, commercial drone cargo jets?

Ah, back on topic, this is pretty damn awesome, tech-wise.

Andy Chalk:

An automated landing may not seem like a big deal, but landing on an aircraft carrier is one of the hardest jobs there is for a human pilot. The deck itself is a relatively tiny strip of real estate floating on the undulating waves of the sea, you're approaching it at something just shy of ludicrous speed and putting wheels on it is just half the battle: You also have to catch a steel cable with your arrestor hook or it's back around for another try, assuming you don't end up in the drink.

You know, looking at that reminded me of a Dos Gringos song. Let me see if I can find it...

 

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