Feeds

Killer robots to get silent-running whisper mode

Watch the skies. Don't listen

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Georgia-based researchers have announced plans to eliminate one of the last remaining weaknesses of the deadly robotic aerial kill flotillas now poised to end humanity's dominance over planet Earth. The airborne machine spies and automated assassins are now to receive whisper mode, and prowl the skies in eerie silence.

"With missions changing, and many vehicles flying at lower altitudes, the acoustic signature of a [killer robot] has become more and more critical," said senior Georgia Institute of Technology (GIT) "aeroacoustics specialist" Rick Gaeta.

Some robotic aircraft are already very quiet - the small battery-powered aeroplanes, often hand-launched, which are used for infantry reconnaissance and perimeter security are almost totally silent. Electric quadcopters, as favoured in some situations by the Merseyside plods and (it is rumoured) the SAS, are also unobtrusive. Such technology typically causes a stir only when employed in the form of flying genitalia.

But larger machines, able to tool up with deadly weapons and wreak havoc among their puny human opponents, are much noisier. The racket of engines, propellors and whatnot - when at low level - often warns the hapless fleshies beneath, giving them a slim chance to hide or escape.

Gaeta and his colleagues want to take away that chance. The plan is to equip the roving robotic spyeyes and gun-platforms of tomorrow with Blue Thunder-style whisper mode*. The GIT team have apparently visited unnamed "US military installations" for the purpose of examining machines already in operation.

The aeroacoustics brains believe the work is going well.

"We believe that we have the means to make tactical UAVs much quieter," says Gaeta, quietly confident (cough).

Indeed, he and his colleagues believe they will be able to make a flying war robot so quiet that not only will humans be unable to hear it - but its enhanced electronic ears will be more than able to hear them. Should a fleeing fleshy rashly step on a dry twig - or perhaps merely gasp in fear or allow his or her heart to beat too loudly - the silent aerial assassins will pounce in a trice.

These new enhancements will be available soon, apparently.

"Our next step is to put our findings into a prototype for testing," says Gaeta. There's more from GIT here.

Watch the skies, then. But don't bother listening to them; it won't do a bit of good. ®

*Or for younger readers, silent-running capabilities akin to those of the sinister governmental helicopters, sombrely paintjob'd in accordance with tradition, which hunt Mel Gibson like a rat in the tinfoilsploitation flick Conspiracy Theory.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.