Autonomous drones are set to revolutionize the future of warfare, and some of the most advanced artificial intelligence systems are being developed in San Diego.
The drone being developed by “Shield AI” looks like a typical commercial drone, but there are major technological differences. Co-Founder Andrew Reiter gave NBC 7 a demonstration at the company’s downtown office.
“All I have to do is press launch and its going to autonomously fly around, see everything and then let me see everything,” says Reiter.
The unarmed drone can think for itself. In the near future, special operations forces will be able to use them to map out buildings in urban war zones. The operator can watch a video feed without worrying about controlling the drone.
The Pentagon is working with Shield AI to develop the artificial intelligence.
“Our mission is to use these artificially intelligent systems to save service member and civilian lives,” said Reiter. “The drone has not been given any commands except go check out the building. It’s figuring out, how do I do that, where do I go, how do I fly, how do I get there."
The drones under development are equipped with cameras that not only help it avoid obstacles, but also identify faces, so that special operators will know whether there is a civilian or a terrorist inside a building.
“Knowing the building is empty is also very valuable information. Often that’s a sign that maybe its booby trapped, maybe it’s not save to go in,” said Reiter.
The Pentagon is spending $3 billion a year on autonomous systems.