Manufacturing News from the Engineered Designer Perspective

Google Increasing Artificial Intelligence in Military Spy Drones

Google recently partnered with the U.S. Department of Defense in an effort to aid in the development of smarter drone software. The company is equipping the government agency with machine-learning software that will improve functionality and help computers to better detect objects in surveillance drone footage.

The partnership is part of an initiative called Project Maven, which the Department of Defense intends to improve America’s ability to win wars “with computer algorithms and artificial intelligence,” a feat achieved by rapidly upgrading the military’s ability to analyze drone footage. The primary goal is the development of artificial intelligence capable of detecting 38 classes of objects, which will allow data analysts to comb through millions of hours of video captured each year by drones surveilling combat zones.

According to Marine Corps Col. Drew Cukor, artificial intelligence will not be selecting a target anytime soon. Rather, it will serve to aid human operators. Google is helping the department with this feat by providing TensorFlow application programming interfaces (APIs), which are typically used in building neural networks.

“This specific project is a pilot with the Department of Defense, to provide open source TensorFlow APIs that can assist in object recognition on unclassified data,” said a representative for Google in a recent statement. “The technology flags images for human review and is for non-offensive uses only.”

The technology will allow drones to distinguish between civilians and military fighters, schools and military bunkers, etc. It is easy to see why the company would want to lend out its technology in an effort to limit civilian casualties. It will also aid the military in detecting and warning of approaching threats.

However, a great deal of controversy surrounds the company and its move to become involved in military operations. Prior to this decision, Google had resisted working with the military in any form other than through contracts allowing access to Google Earth and search hardware. Upon acquiring Boston Dynamics in 2013, Google publicly announced that it would honor the company’s existing military contracts, but it would not be pursuing new work with the Department of Defense, nor would it become a military contractor.

Many are outraged over the move to use artificial intelligence to aid in military combat. Some Google employees have also spoken out about the company’s decision to lend its technology to controversial drone operations, particularly as it contradicts the company’s previous stance.

Despite the backlash, various countries around the world are funding and developing artificial intelligence of their own, which will be similarly used for military purposes. Cukor described this as an AI arms race. “No area will be left unaffected by the impact of this technology,” he said.

Latest Stories

Volvo to Expand Production of XC40 SUV in Europe and China

Volvo to Expand Production of XC40 SUV in Europe and China

​Volvo is expanding production of its XC40 SUV in Europe and China in an effort to meet rising demand. According to the company, nearly 80,000 orders have been placed for the SUV, which prompted the company to expand production at its Ghent manufacturing facility. Production capacity will be added at the company’s Luqiao plant in…

Nexen Energy Expansion Announced

Nexen Energy Expansion Announced

​Nexen Energy recently announced that it will spend approximately $400 billion on a 26,000-barrel-per-day expansion of its Long Lake oil sands project in northern Alberta. Plans include adding three steam-driven well pads that will send bitumen to its existing facilities. According to a company spokesperson, site preparation has already begun, with production slated to being…

How Greener Grids Can Stay Lit

How Greener Grids Can Stay Lit

​California recently made headlines after becoming the first state to require solar panels on all new homes. While the move seems at first glance as a major step in the right direction, it also poses a lot of questions regarding the feasibility of the move and its effect on existing distribution networks. ​In order to…

Jaguar Land Rover Set to Move Discovery Production from United Kingdom to Slovakia

Jaguar Land Rover Set to Move Discovery Production from United Kingdom to Slovakia

​Jaguar Land Rover is gearing up for a move from a plant near Birmingham, England to one in Slovakia, a move that is facing criticism as it jeopardizes hundreds of jobs. The company stated in April that approximately 1,000 posts currently filled by workers on short-term contracts would be eliminated following the move and that…

Elon Musk’s Boring Company Making Waves with Latest Announcement

Elon Musk’s Boring Company Making Waves with Latest Announcement

​Elon Musk’s Boring Company gained worldwide attention when Chicago chose the company to build a futuristic, high-speed transportation link between downtown Chicago and the O’Hare Airport. ​“We’re really excited to work with the Mayor and the City to bring this new high-speed public transportation system to Chicago!” said The Boring Company via Twitter. The system,…

Could the Future of Energy be Entirely Renewable?

Could the Future of Energy be Entirely Renewable?

​As the world shifts toward greener alternatives to fossil fuels and eco-friendly lifestyles, we begin to wonder just how far we are capable of going. Are there enough options and resources available to meet all our energy needs in environmentally-friendly ways? Is the vision of a green future with 100 per cent renewable energy feasible?…

Airbus and Bombardier Finalize Deal

Airbus and Bombardier Finalize Deal

​According to a dual announcement earlier this month, Airbus and Bombardier have finalized the C Series partnership agreement which was first announced on October 16th. Bombardier struck the deal with Airbus amid a trade dispute with Boeing, which claimed that the Canadian plane received illegal government aid that unfairly shut out the competition. The partnership…

Researchers Test Feasibility of EmDrive and Mach Effect Thrusters

Researchers Test Feasibility of EmDrive and Mach Effect Thrusters

​A team of physicists from Technische Universität in Dresden, Germany recently tested the feasibility of EmDrive and Mach Effect Thrusters. The EmDrive, an experimental space engine design, gained worldwide attention after NASA reported that the engine was being tested to discover its merits. Two years later, no further updates have been presented, which led the…

Crude Oil Prices Uncertain as OPEC Meets to Discuss Supply

Crude Oil Prices Uncertain as OPEC Meets to Discuss Supply

​Crude oil prices fell in several markets this week pending a June 22nd meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna. Prior to the meeting, both OPEC and non-OPEC producers will come together to discuss production levels at seminars scheduled for June 20th and 21st. ​“Last week, we saw some news stories indicating…

Auto Industry Expected to Meet 2025 Standards

Auto Industry Expected to Meet 2025 Standards

​The Union of Concerned Scientists, which meets every few years to discuss the auto industry’s emission reduction progress, released this year’s analysis. The analysis, which was based on model year 2017 vehicles, shows that the industry has reached the lowest levels yet in both smog-forming and global warming emissions from new vehicles. However, that progression…

1 2 3 85Next →

Other Popular News and Stories

  • Pratt & Whitney Canada announces helicopter engine contracts
  • GM investing $250 million at Ingersoll plant
  • Canadian oil production up; producers turning to railways for shipment
  • Economy managed slight growth in Q4, but shrank in December
  • Skilled labour shortage in world oil industry: report
  • Volkswagen to produce super-efficient hybrid
  • Bombardier holds update on CSeries aircraft
  • RV industry has growing role in Canada's economy: study
  • Miners struggling with higher costs, lower prices
  • Russian leasing company orders 42 CSeries jets from Bombardier
  • Bombardier nearly ready to flight test CSeries
  • Manufacturing the sole industry showing job losses in February
  • Clean energy expected to surge as pv costs drop
  • SPPCA's new landing gear facility opening in Mississauga
  • FTG Aerospace to supply avionics to Rockwell Collins
  • Japex to buy into west coast LNG development
  • DART Aerospace re-branding itself to reach wider markets
  • Canada keeping up pressure on US for Keystone XL approval
  • BC refinery close to financing deal
  • Canadian business, except energy, had profitable Q4: Statistics Canada