If you are talking about pilot-less attack aircraft, the answer is Yes, Maybe.
There was a show on PBS about this. Go the the website and you can probably watch it there. Im pretty sure it was an episode of NOVA. It focused on recon aircraft primarily, but did raise some questions about development of combat craft.
“Spies that fly”. Here is the link to the transcript. You can probably watch the show online if you poke around on the website to find it. (I used to rewatch all the shows at my last job when I was bored. Got paid to do it, too! )
I’d go further and say, yes, absolutely. They already exist and are probably less than a decade from full implementation.
In college in '98 our team designed a UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle) based on a legitimate RFP submitted to Boeing. Boeing and McDonall Douglas (shortly after the acquisition) engineers reviewed the presentations and it was clear that the details were real-world scenarios.
There are currently in operation a variety of UAV’s which are responsible for survelance, the Predator and Globalstar most notably, and several prototypes have been flown publically who’s mission is essentially to replace the F-117. It’s almost certain that there are classified projects which are geared a air interdiction.
From what I know of the Air Force, I’d find it very unlikely that they will be interested in a fully autonomous attack aircraft in the forseeable future. There will be a human “pilot” in the loop controlling weapon release along with extensive systems preventing unauthorized releases.
I’d like to think fiddlesticks is right, but I recall watching a program on TV (Discovery?) about some experimental automated military vehicles. The one I particularily remember was built on an ATV chassis, and (according to the show) programmed to go out and hide for weeks at a time, and make decisions on targetting and firing. (They showed one hiding by a road and destroying a tank with the built-in rocket launcher.) Can’t seem to find a link right now though.
BTW, I hope it’s not too much of a hijack, but from the commercials it seemed the movie was quite like Macross Plus… was it?
I like Jamie Foxx, and I dont usually mind mindless action flicks, (I though AVP was excellent for what it was), but this one just seemed so stupid beyond all belief that I refuse to watch it. But I do want to know the answer to this: What was the plane’s power source that they just could not wait for it to run out of fuel - they did address this point, yes?
Nope. While the pilot will not be eliminated entirely and there will always be certain situations where delicacy or precision may warrant pilot in command conditions, you can be certain there will be fully autonomous crafts as well.
I say this with certainty based on one fact…this has already happened. The Tomahawk Cruise Missle is by all definitions a unmanned attack vehicle, it’s simply not a recycleable one. New UCAV designs will use the same GPS and map-of-the-earth flight programs which the Tomahawk does and will deliver precision guided munitions and return to it’s launch platform.
There certainly will be much more resistance to the concept of a weapons platform using artificial inteligence to acquire and assess targets, and when they are implemented it’s likely that there’ll still be human shoot authority. Still, each facet will be computerized.
Here’s a scenario which happens today.
An automated satellite takes photos of enemy territories. Another computer analyzes those images and selects objects which it recongizes as weapons material or troops. A third computer creates an attack plan and flight route to the target. Finally the onboard navigation system of the cruise missle flys and destroys the target.
Every one of these things happen today. It’s true that there’s a human involved between each step and that the decision making within each program is supplemented by people, but there’s little stopping the steps from being integrated into one single program. Certainly there needs to be advancement in the programming and AI, but conceptually it’s not very far fetched.
Still, this isn’t quite the same thing as the movie portrays (I haven’t actually seen it) but it’s not exactly a massive leap to think the USAF and USN would adopt a version if it.
ok it took me a while to find the thread, cause it was moved out of GQ.
Politics notwithstanding… It seemed that these pilots were very concerned about the after effects of thier missions. Kinda like the weight of the world was being carried on thier shoulders. Am I mistaken? The weight of the world is carried on the backs of the admirals, generals, and other associated decision makers of society. The weight of the mission is carried on the backs of the squadron leader.
Then there was the moment that the drone aircraft became sentient with a lightning strike. This was sort of out of the Frankenstein novel. It seems to me that a lightning strike would cause a computer to shut down, and re-boot, not reorder all of its code so it can think on its own.
Other moments of the movie seemed to be hijacks of other movies, but that is a different issue.
It seems like this movie must be a poor depiction of the UAV program and a poor depiction of the hypersonic aircraft research program.
I think a remote-controlled plane is more likely than an autonomous AI one, since the technologies required are pretty much off-the-shelf. The obvious advantage is that it makes it possible to use levels of aircraft performance that would produce Cream Of Brain inside the skulls of an on-board crew.
The plane runs on good old fashioned jet fuel. At one point it goes to some gasoline dispensing Air Force zepplin, shoots the nozzle off and injects its refueling dohicky directly into the gas spewing pipeline.
I feel stupider for even having typed that. God, that movie sucked.
Well, massively unlikely as that spoiler scenario is, it’s far more likely than having a massively powerful and and delicate computer take a megavolt lightning strike with no effect other than to reorganise its immensely complex software routine into an even more complex sentient software routine without any bugs, glitches or odd problems other than being homicidal. I’m no computer scientist, but still…
Oh, and I forgot that generally the lightning just sizzles round the fuselage and continues on its way - aircraft get hit fairly frequently without adverse effects other than to underwear.
I just can’t take movies like that. I keep wanting to go hunt down the scriptwriters and force-feed them proper science fiction paperbacks till they explode.
Thank you for taking one for the team!!! It is now on my permanent must-not-see-TV list. I saw the trailer in the theaters and had a bad feeling from that moment on. I hope that someday you may recover the time you lost that enabled you to answer my question. Ok, now off to the Battlestar Galactica and 24 threads.