Feeds

Killer robots to get silent-running whisper mode

Watch the skies. Don't listen

Application security programs and practises

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.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.