Robot Wars: A fault Lines report from AlJazeera
This type of briefing tends to glamourise weapony, the Amnesty International film ‘precisely wrong’ found on the decommissioners link (video drones) gives a more stark truth about UAV’s.
Wandering Raven reports that the MOD is giving BAE Systems £40m to continue development of drone technology. The UK drones strategy appears to be floundering, it hasn’t produced commercial success in the face of Israeli and American competition, and now a range of drones are being manufactured in many places around the world. Apparently BAE now needs the public to pay for its research programmes in order to be persuaded to continue to research and develop drones.
BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre is in Bristol and recently sent a prototype unmanned ground vehicle to Oxford University as part of a joint research project.
Chris Coles of Drones Wars has prepared a summary of developments in this growing area of the military in 2011.
For example: UK MoD Signs Contract for Nano Drones
The MoD has signed a contract for up to 100 tiny ‘nano’ drones with Marlborough Communications Limited and Prox Dynamics. The contract, which may be worth up to £20 million, is for the tiny Black Hornet drone.
In March when the potential contract was revealed, the tender notice stated that the he drones should be available “off the shelf”, powered by a rotary wing, weigh less than 1.7kg,and able to operate in “typical conditions found in Afghanistan and the UK”. As the Guardian reported at the time “The note about their use in Britain is thought to refer to training flights at RAF and military bases in the UK before deployment abroad. But other security agencies could also find a use for the NUAS in the UK.”
Drone Campaign Network member Noel Sharkey, professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at Sheffield University, told the Guardian: “At that weight they are likely to be blown away by the wind. They wouldn’t be carrying weapons. My worry would be that the police end up using them.”