Drones which “make their own decisions”: Towards Global Unmanned Warfare?
July 17, 2012
A number of announcements made in the past two weeks to coincide with the Farnborough airshow show the quickening pace of developments around the use of drones and unmanned systems. Perhaps the most significant was the UK MoD’s announcement that it was setting up a new unmanned systems capability development centre (UASCDC) to be based at Boscombe Down in Wiltshire.
The new centre, which will be run in conjunction with defence giant QinetiQ, aims to develop new drone programmes “from concept to deployment” as well as “facilitate engagement between industry and the MoD to make the best use of collective expertise and facilities.” Although there is as little public information available as yet, some slides about the new centre were included as part of a recent general presentation to industry by the MoD.
It was also announced that the new Unmanned Systems Centre will join with ADS, the UK Aerospace, Defence and Security trade association, and Farnborough Airshow to hold a new ‘expo’ on autonomous unmanned systems at Farnborough in July 2013. Although shy of using the word ‘autonomous’ (substituting the more acceptable phrase ‘intelligent systems’, the week-long event is clearly focused on autonomy as ADS Director, Kevin Jones states in a filmed interview (below) “Yes…. we are talking about systems that have the technology and the capability to make their own decisions…” The event planned for 2013, is a “precursor to a complete Intelligent Systems Air and Ground Expo that will occur at the Farnborough International Airshow 2014 where, as a show-within-a-show, this event will have command of the global aerospace stage.”