The banana-hued, boxcar-sized drone was on display at the Navy’s Sea-Air-Space conference this week in National Harbor, Md. It can stay underwater for 30 days – and launch weapons.
Military officials are hoping that the Navy’s new yellow submarine – the latest high-tech advance in underwater drones – is going to revolutionize the way the Pentagon fights wars all over the world.
Developing these drones, however, means unlocking some tricky linchpins in unmanned technology in an effort to teach military machines autonomous behavior, which entails delving into what officials call “memory mapping” and other particulars of how people’s brains work.
For this reason, it’s important to understand “not just algorithms,” says Rear Adm. Mathias Winter, “but also the humanistic side – understanding neural networks and how we make decisions.”
Standing in an expo booth next to the banana-hued, boxcar-sized unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) at the Navy’s Sea-Air-Space conference this week, Rear Admiral Winter, who heads up the Office of Naval Research, oversees some 1,100 PhDs working for the service’s high-tech arm.
“I am continuously amazed with the underwater breakthrough technologies,” he says, glancing at a small “swarming” drone displayed just above his head at the expo in National Harbor, Md.
These breakthroughs include exploring not just decisionmaking technology, but also “off the charts, revolutionary” leaps forward in battery life and power storage to allow such crafts to one day operate for “months and years” underwater, Winter adds.
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