Jul 202015

To understand the effects, affordances, and contextual implications of cars one has to imagine not a single car, but the mindbogglingly dull commute in a suburban traffic jam. Similarly, to understand the affordances of drones and UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles – a terrible term] one has to imagine the sky-air permeated by networked machines; from micro-drones suitable as toys and message relay, to massive permanent-hover drones suitable for advertising, surveillance, and – inevitably – policing. Enter The Drone Aviary – an R&D project from The Superflux Lab.

The Drone Aviary reveals fleeting glimpses of the city from the perspective of drones. It explores a world where the ‘network’ begins to gain physical autonomy. Drones become protagonists, moving through the city, making decisions about the world and influencing our lives in often opaque yet profound ways.

Feb 092012

In an earlier post I mentioned drone swarms, and the likelihood of their arrival in the not too-distant future. However, there is another development much closer to being actually deployed as it is already undergoing advanced field trials. I struggle to think of a warbot creepier than DARPA’s AlphaDog. To appreciate what you see, keep in mind this is only a prototype of a warbot which in its final form will probably be around 4 times larger, completely silent, smart enough to self-navigate and engage with humans (voice recognition), and on top of that – heavily armed. The fact it can already autonomously move over unknown rugged terrain is astonishing.

If you have seen/played Metal Gear Solid this should be causing deja vu.

Feb 022012

This via the ever thought-provoking John Robb at Global Guerrillas:

The algorithms that enable drone swarms is advancing EXTREMELY quickly. In the next couple of years, the number of advances in technology, deployments, use cases, and awareness of drones will be intense. In 5 years, they will be part of every day life. You will see them everywhere. Not just one or two drones. SWARMS of drones. Tens. Hundreds. Thousands. Millions (potentially if the cost per unit is small enough)?

How soon will we see that. It’s already here. Here’s a video depicting experiments performed with a team of nano quadrotors at the GRASP Lab, University of Pennsylvania. Vehicles developed by KMel Robotics. It was posted today:

This reminds me of the Protoss carrier unit from Starcraft, of Ender’s hive attacks in Orson Scott Card’s ‘Ender’s Game‘. Imagine hearing that noise amplified 100 times, and the sky dotted with a flotilla of these.  Smells like Skynet.