The Israeli-made Lanius is a tiny racing drone that could scout and kill enemies while using artificial intelligence. It’s a nightmare scenario, weapons critics say

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Last week, an Israeli defense company painted a frightening picture. In a roughly two-minute video on YouTube that resembles an action movie, soldiers out on a mission are suddenly pinned down by enemy gunfire and calling for help. In response, a tiny drone zips off its mother ship to the rescue, zooming behind the enemy soldiers and killing them with ease. While the situation is fake, the drone – unveiled last week by Israel-based Elbit Systems – is not. The Lanius, which in Latin can refer to butcherbirds, represents a new generation of drone: nimble, wired with artificial intelligence, and able to scout and kill. The machine is based on racing drone design, allowing it to maneuver into tight spaces, such as alleyways and small buildings. After being sent into battle, Lanius’s algorithm can make a map of the scene and scan people, differentiating enemies from allies – feeding all that data back to soldiers who can then simply push a button to attack or kill whom they want. For weapons critics, that represents a nightmare scenario, which could alter the dynamics of war. “It’s extremely concerning,” said Catherine Connolly, an arms expert at Stop Killer Robots, an anti-weapons advocacy group. “It’s basically just allowing the machine to decide if you live or die if we remove the human control element for that.” According to the drone’s data sheet, the drone is palm-size, roughly 11 inches by 6 inches. It has a top speed of 45 miles per hour. It can fly for about seven minutes, and has the ability to carry lethal and nonlethal materials.

Note: US General Paul Selva has warned against employing killer robots in warfare for ethical reasons. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.

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