The use of drones was met with an uproar. Now the Taranis, complete with auto-kill features, has raised the stakes. Will this "killer robot" be used in unmanned lethal action?
The maiden flight of the stingray-shaped Taranis drone went off without a hitch. However its auto-kill features are causing an activist firestorm.
This ultimate robot (named for the Celtic god of thunder) can self-select its targets. Oh, my, you can just see the red flags, can't you? It's seems BAE Systems (the drone's maker) is pushing this as a representation of national pride, as you'll see in the video below that dubs Taranis an "Inspiration for a Nation."
The eight tons of technology comes with a price tag of $300 million (so far). Chris Boardman, managing director at BAE Systems, says in the video that the drone "keeps the UK in the top tier of aerospace capability." Jointly funded by the UK Ministry of Defense, GE, Rolls Royce, and others, the drone has drawn an uproar over its
"fully autonomous intelligent system."
Self-selection of targets is not new to this drone; it can also be found in the US-made X-47B and the French Neuron. Activists are calling for pilots to be required when lethal use is planned.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams talks in the video below about robots that will target humans autonomously without a human operator. She also says multiple countries have similar projects on the drawing board.
These robots are programmed and set free instead of being controlled in real-time.
Several governments are scheduled to participate in a meeting on "killer robots" in Geneva in May. Expect the activism to grow. One argument is that, with a supply of these drones on steroids, warfare will be much easier to sell to citizens.