Author Topic: Autonomous drones  (Read 796 times)

Faust

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 71236
    • View Profile
Re: Autonomous drones
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2012, 08:08:27 am »
Do not choose a coward's explanation, that hides behind the cause and the effect

P3nT4gR4m

  • Official SSOOKN Pariah
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 64616
  • I'm an artist now - isn't that depressing?
    • View Profile
    • fuck you
Re: Autonomous drones
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2012, 10:13:06 am »
Didn't we (by which I mean the United States, the Soviet Union, and anybody else who got nuclear capability during or immediately following World War Two) have fully autonomous (for some definition of fully autonomous -- I'm counting dead man's switches) targeting and launching capabilities for ICBMs with nukes on the tips? Drones are at least discriminating; they aren't feasible to use for totally extinguishing a continent, even with the current US military budget.

Autonomy is interesting in the context of asymmetric warfare. Autonomy would finally fundamentally distinguish drones from very expensive remote control airplanes (in other words, our new-and-exciting weapon of the week is no longer something that an upper-middle-class american hobbyist would be able to throw together a passable equivalent for out of his own pocket in a few weeks), but mechanisms for autonomous targeting and navigation are information (and information derivable by a sufficiently intelligent group of people from experimentation, as opposed to the kind of information you have to buy, steal, or leak), which means that once a handful of details are known, the remainder can be deduced with an investment of time (as opposed to equipment). Autonomous drones would initially cost more than remote drones because of the research costs, but reverse engineering is cheaper than forward engineering, and (given that most of the prior work on these topics, so far as I am aware, is in the public domain in the form of academic and hobbyist papers) the capabilities of first-generation autonomous drones can be cheaply replicated -- and groups with little money and few cannonfodder units have much more to gain by arming and making autonomous a fleet of $200 toy airplanes than does the US military.

Pretty much all the code you need has already been written. Download the free source SDK from Valve and check out the Bot classes. Link that up to sensor and servo controls and you'll be good to go.
Awful and Bent Behemothic Results of Last Night's Painful Squat.

High Altitude Haggis-Filled Sex Bucket From Beyond Time and Space.

Internet Monkey Person of Filthy and Immoral Pygmy-Porn Wart Contagion
Octomom Auxillary Heat Exchanger Repairman
walking the fine line line between genius and batshit fucking crazy

"And National Geographic got interested because National Geographic has the theory that the last century, discovery was basically finding things, and in this century, discovery is basically making things."-- Stewart Brand

Cain

  • Chekha
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 96271
    • View Profile
Re: Autonomous drones
« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2012, 10:21:54 am »
Didn't we (by which I mean the United States, the Soviet Union, and anybody else who got nuclear capability during or immediately following World War Two) have fully autonomous (for some definition of fully autonomous -- I'm counting dead man's switches) targeting and launching capabilities for ICBMs with nukes on the tips? Drones are at least discriminating; they aren't feasible to use for totally extinguishing a continent, even with the current US military budget.

Autonomy is interesting in the context of asymmetric warfare. Autonomy would finally fundamentally distinguish drones from very expensive remote control airplanes (in other words, our new-and-exciting weapon of the week is no longer something that an upper-middle-class american hobbyist would be able to throw together a passable equivalent for out of his own pocket in a few weeks), but mechanisms for autonomous targeting and navigation are information (and information derivable by a sufficiently intelligent group of people from experimentation, as opposed to the kind of information you have to buy, steal, or leak), which means that once a handful of details are known, the remainder can be deduced with an investment of time (as opposed to equipment). Autonomous drones would initially cost more than remote drones because of the research costs, but reverse engineering is cheaper than forward engineering, and (given that most of the prior work on these topics, so far as I am aware, is in the public domain in the form of academic and hobbyist papers) the capabilities of first-generation autonomous drones can be cheaply replicated -- and groups with little money and few cannonfodder units have much more to gain by arming and making autonomous a fleet of $200 toy airplanes than does the US military.

I wouldn't consider a dead-man's trigger as autonomous, because it requires an extremely specific scenario to be triggered.  It's rather like claiming a tripwire is autonomous.

This is true, that the tech required for an autonomous drone would be out of reach of the average American diletantte....to begin with.  However, I think the learning curve would be much less steep than you imagine.  We're essentially talking about a visual recognition system tied to a simple observe/attack/retreat program, I would imagine.  The latter isn't very hard at all, speaking as someone who occasionally mods games to make the AI challenging, and the former can be bought off the shelf.  Integrating it is probably the major issue, but I suspect someone who can throw together a manual drone could figure out a way beyond that.

Because of the ease of manufacture, drones would indeed be a perfect weapon for any group looking to reap the benefits of hi-tech, asymmetric warfare, including terrorist organizations.  Creating a drone with a specified command to do a set amount of recon, then strike the largest cluster of people within a geographic zone would not be hard, and tracing the attack may well be impossible.  Especially if the drone is the weapon.  Of course, you could do that with a manual drone as well (Hezbollah used their own drones to carry out suicide attacks on the Israeli Navy), but an autonomous drone would allow for greater distance between the culprits and the targets, and would likely prevent all attempts at jamming signals that may allow a manual drone to be disabled.

Also, let's think a little more creatively here, like DARPA are doing.  Those huge Predator drones are not the only type of drone the US military is looking to deploy.  There has been considerable interest in insect size "assassinstion drones" for battlefield (and presumably off the battlefield counter-terrorism and insurgency) uses.  And no doubt the land-based drones being worked on in various labs are being considered, for places where airborne drones would have difficulty in targeting a subject, such as built-up, urban areas.

Autonomous assassination drones, the size of an insect.  Now there's a worrying thought.

P3nT4gR4m

  • Official SSOOKN Pariah
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 64616
  • I'm an artist now - isn't that depressing?
    • View Profile
    • fuck you
Re: Autonomous drones
« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2012, 10:30:26 am »
Didn't we (by which I mean the United States, the Soviet Union, and anybody else who got nuclear capability during or immediately following World War Two) have fully autonomous (for some definition of fully autonomous -- I'm counting dead man's switches) targeting and launching capabilities for ICBMs with nukes on the tips? Drones are at least discriminating; they aren't feasible to use for totally extinguishing a continent, even with the current US military budget.

Autonomy is interesting in the context of asymmetric warfare. Autonomy would finally fundamentally distinguish drones from very expensive remote control airplanes (in other words, our new-and-exciting weapon of the week is no longer something that an upper-middle-class american hobbyist would be able to throw together a passable equivalent for out of his own pocket in a few weeks), but mechanisms for autonomous targeting and navigation are information (and information derivable by a sufficiently intelligent group of people from experimentation, as opposed to the kind of information you have to buy, steal, or leak), which means that once a handful of details are known, the remainder can be deduced with an investment of time (as opposed to equipment). Autonomous drones would initially cost more than remote drones because of the research costs, but reverse engineering is cheaper than forward engineering, and (given that most of the prior work on these topics, so far as I am aware, is in the public domain in the form of academic and hobbyist papers) the capabilities of first-generation autonomous drones can be cheaply replicated -- and groups with little money and few cannonfodder units have much more to gain by arming and making autonomous a fleet of $200 toy airplanes than does the US military.

I wouldn't consider a dead-man's trigger as autonomous, because it requires an extremely specific scenario to be triggered.  It's rather like claiming a tripwire is autonomous.

This is true, that the tech required for an autonomous drone would be out of reach of the average American diletantte....to begin with.  However, I think the learning curve would be much less steep than you imagine.  We're essentially talking about a visual recognition system tied to a simple observe/attack/retreat program, I would imagine.  The latter isn't very hard at all, speaking as someone who occasionally mods games to make the AI challenging, and the former can be bought off the shelf.  Integrating it is probably the major issue, but I suspect someone who can throw together a manual drone could figure out a way beyond that.

Because of the ease of manufacture, drones would indeed be a perfect weapon for any group looking to reap the benefits of hi-tech, asymmetric warfare, including terrorist organizations.  Creating a drone with a specified command to do a set amount of recon, then strike the largest cluster of people within a geographic zone would not be hard, and tracing the attack may well be impossible.  Especially if the drone is the weapon.  Of course, you could do that with a manual drone as well (Hezbollah used their own drones to carry out suicide attacks on the Israeli Navy), but an autonomous drone would allow for greater distance between the culprits and the targets, and would likely prevent all attempts at jamming signals that may allow a manual drone to be disabled.

Also, let's think a little more creatively here, like DARPA are doing.  Those huge Predator drones are not the only type of drone the US military is looking to deploy.  There has been considerable interest in insect size "assassinstion drones" for battlefield (and presumably off the battlefield counter-terrorism and insurgency) uses.  And no doubt the land-based drones being worked on in various labs are being considered, for places where airborne drones would have difficulty in targeting a subject, such as built-up, urban areas.

Autonomous assassination drones, the size of an insect.  Now there's a worrying thought.

This really is shaping up to be my favourite century ever  :fap2:
Awful and Bent Behemothic Results of Last Night's Painful Squat.

High Altitude Haggis-Filled Sex Bucket From Beyond Time and Space.

Internet Monkey Person of Filthy and Immoral Pygmy-Porn Wart Contagion
Octomom Auxillary Heat Exchanger Repairman
walking the fine line line between genius and batshit fucking crazy

"And National Geographic got interested because National Geographic has the theory that the last century, discovery was basically finding things, and in this century, discovery is basically making things."-- Stewart Brand

Cain

  • Chekha
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 96271
    • View Profile
Re: Autonomous drones
« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2012, 10:38:49 am »
Ones the size of butterflies have already been built.  And drones disguised as birds are flying over Iraq and Pakistan currently (blatantly American, but the press insists on referring to them as "mystery drones").

One good thing is that the US military brass don't seem too keen on autonomy - it's the scientists and engineers who are pushing it.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/09/robot-autonomy/

Quote
The Board wondered what’s inhibiting the development of autonomous military vehicles and other systems. It found that the humans who have to interact with robots in high-stakes situations often labor under the misimpression that autonomy means the machine can do a human’s job, rather than help a human do her job more efficiently. And some simply don’t have faith that the robots work as directed.

There’s a “lack of trust among operators that a given unmanned system will operate as intended,” the Board found. One major reason: “Most [Defense Department] deployments of unmanned systems were motivated by the pressing needs of conflict, so systems were rushed to theater with inadequate support, resources, training and concepts of operation.” War may spur innovation, but it’s not always the best place to beta-test.

And there’s a deeper, conceptual problem behind the frustration. “Treating autonomy as a widget or ‘black box’ supports an ‘us versus the computer’ attitude among commanders rather than the more appropriate understanding that there are no fully autonomous systems just as there are no fully autonomous soldiers, sailors, airmen or Marines,” the Board found.

But someone will do it, sooner or later.  Like cyberwarfare, the idea is out there now, and nothing is going to force it back in the box.

P3nT4gR4m

  • Official SSOOKN Pariah
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 64616
  • I'm an artist now - isn't that depressing?
    • View Profile
    • fuck you
Re: Autonomous drones
« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2012, 11:16:54 am »
Quote
War may spur innovation, but it’s not always the best place to beta-test.

This should be carved on a plaque somewhere :lulz:
Awful and Bent Behemothic Results of Last Night's Painful Squat.

High Altitude Haggis-Filled Sex Bucket From Beyond Time and Space.

Internet Monkey Person of Filthy and Immoral Pygmy-Porn Wart Contagion
Octomom Auxillary Heat Exchanger Repairman
walking the fine line line between genius and batshit fucking crazy

"And National Geographic got interested because National Geographic has the theory that the last century, discovery was basically finding things, and in this century, discovery is basically making things."-- Stewart Brand

Cain

  • Chekha
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 96271
    • View Profile
Re: Autonomous drones
« Reply #21 on: October 04, 2012, 11:49:05 am »
I dunno.  Something like WWII...fuckit, British scientific advisors were coming up will all kinds of crazy shit, most of which they didn't have a clue if it was really going to work as advertised until it was in a combat situation.  The stakes were pretty high, and available knowledge of the opposing side's tech was pretty low, so if you didn't take a chance like that, you'd get steamrollered by the other side's conventional tech.

Of course, the stakes are pretty damn low in terrorism, CBRN aside, and the tech is far more widely known, so...yeah.

P3nT4gR4m

  • Official SSOOKN Pariah
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 64616
  • I'm an artist now - isn't that depressing?
    • View Profile
    • fuck you
Re: Autonomous drones
« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2012, 11:57:39 am »
I dunno.  Something like WWII...fuckit, British scientific advisors were coming up will all kinds of crazy shit, most of which they didn't have a clue if it was really going to work as advertised until it was in a combat situation.  The stakes were pretty high, and available knowledge of the opposing side's tech was pretty low, so if you didn't take a chance like that, you'd get steamrollered by the other side's conventional tech.

This is true. Dambusters springs immediately to mind but at least if the bomb bounced the wrong way it didn't go on a rampage and wipe out humanity. Could be that the stakes are higher now, just not from the enemy.
Awful and Bent Behemothic Results of Last Night's Painful Squat.

High Altitude Haggis-Filled Sex Bucket From Beyond Time and Space.

Internet Monkey Person of Filthy and Immoral Pygmy-Porn Wart Contagion
Octomom Auxillary Heat Exchanger Repairman
walking the fine line line between genius and batshit fucking crazy

"And National Geographic got interested because National Geographic has the theory that the last century, discovery was basically finding things, and in this century, discovery is basically making things."-- Stewart Brand

deadfong

  • Known & Noted
  • **
  • Posts: 2033
    • View Profile
Re: Autonomous drones
« Reply #23 on: October 04, 2012, 01:55:28 pm »
One good thing is that the US military brass don't seem too keen on autonomy - it's the scientists and engineers who are pushing it.

Won't be long before one of those guys suggests powering the drones with microbial fuel cells, because what's better than an autonomous killing machine?  One that can generate its own power by consuming organic material  :horrormirth:

Ayotollah of Ass

  • Known & Noted
  • **
  • Posts: 803
  • When just a regular ass won't do...
    • View Profile
Re: Autonomous drones
« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2012, 03:11:30 pm »
One good thing is that the US military brass don't seem too keen on autonomy - it's the scientists and engineers who are pushing it.

US military brass probably still remembers Vietnam, where greater soldier autonomy turned out to be a great way to get shot in the back. It's probably not much better when its algorithms.

Your last point is right on. If it can be done, it will be done.

Prince Glittersnatch III

  • Heir to the throne of King Kong
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 27301
  • Landlord of the Flies
    • View Profile
Re: Autonomous drones
« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2012, 05:26:42 pm »
BRB investing all my money in weaponized EMP research.
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?=743264506 <---worst human being to ever live.

http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Religions/Other%20Pagan%20Mumbo-Jumbo/discordianism.htm <----Learn the truth behind Discordianism

Glittersnatch would be a rather unfortunate condition, if a halfway decent troll name.

AORTAL SEX MADES MY DICK HARD AS FUCK!

The Good Reverend Roger

  • Tarantism Victim
  • One-Armed Jizz Moppers
  • Deserved It
  • **
  • Posts: 34329
    • View Profile
Re: Autonomous drones
« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2012, 05:29:01 pm »
One good thing is that the US military brass don't seem too keen on autonomy - it's the scientists and engineers who are pushing it.

US military brass probably still remembers Vietnam, where greater soldier autonomy turned out to be a great way to get shot in the back. It's probably not much better when its algorithms.

Your last point is right on. If it can be done, it will be done.

Actually, the fraggings were usually caused by not ENOUGH soldier autonomy.
"The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way, and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theatre."
- Frank Zappa

Roko's Modern Basilisk

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 32013
  • Now 30% more declassified!
    • View Profile
    • First Church of Space Jesus
Re: Autonomous drones
« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2012, 09:38:52 pm »
Didn't we (by which I mean the United States, the Soviet Union, and anybody else who got nuclear capability during or immediately following World War Two) have fully autonomous (for some definition of fully autonomous -- I'm counting dead man's switches) targeting and launching capabilities for ICBMs with nukes on the tips? Drones are at least discriminating; they aren't feasible to use for totally extinguishing a continent, even with the current US military budget.

Autonomy is interesting in the context of asymmetric warfare. Autonomy would finally fundamentally distinguish drones from very expensive remote control airplanes (in other words, our new-and-exciting weapon of the week is no longer something that an upper-middle-class american hobbyist would be able to throw together a passable equivalent for out of his own pocket in a few weeks), but mechanisms for autonomous targeting and navigation are information (and information derivable by a sufficiently intelligent group of people from experimentation, as opposed to the kind of information you have to buy, steal, or leak), which means that once a handful of details are known, the remainder can be deduced with an investment of time (as opposed to equipment). Autonomous drones would initially cost more than remote drones because of the research costs, but reverse engineering is cheaper than forward engineering, and (given that most of the prior work on these topics, so far as I am aware, is in the public domain in the form of academic and hobbyist papers) the capabilities of first-generation autonomous drones can be cheaply replicated -- and groups with little money and few cannonfodder units have much more to gain by arming and making autonomous a fleet of $200 toy airplanes than does the US military.

Pretty much all the code you need has already been written. Download the free source SDK from Valve and check out the Bot classes. Link that up to sensor and servo controls and you'll be good to go.

Exactly. The milspec drones will be full of minor (and very expensive) variations on well-known techniques, that aren't going to be much better than the public domain equivalents. This isn't like high speed trading, where the best algorithms have been trade-secreted by particular companies for decades and all the public domain ones are crap; this is more like the personal computer industry circa 1979, when all the best ideas were distributed by hobbyist groups and nobody was really sure that it could be productized.

Non-state actors are going to look at the behavior of new autonomous drones, hack equivalent behavior into their RC planes, and put the source code and schematics on the internet. Then, aside from numbers, any third world country will be able to afford nearly us-equivalent drone tech without trying to negotiate with the US military or with some ally.