The future of war includes balloons – POLITICO

With the help of Derek Robertson

We have written quite a bit in DFD about Long procces The US military is demanding the adoption of new technologies. Now, there is one next-generation technology that is finally approaching reality: AI balloons that float on the outer reaches of the earth’s atmosphere.

As I reported in story came out todayThe Department of Defense has outsourced the observation balloon project to specific branches of the military, such as the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy or Space Force – a move that usually means they can start using the new technology.

Pentagon plan? Turn on the stratosphere. The Department of Defense wants to use these balloons to track hypersonic missiles or other long-range munitions that could be fired from China, Iran, North Korea or Russia.

Teardrop shaped balloons fly between 60,000 and 90,000 feet above the ground. According to manufacturer Raven Aerostar, they are controlled by wind currents using machine learning algorithms and are charged using solar panels.

One aspect that could speed up adoption in this case is that the new technology is significantly cheaper than anything the military currently uses for high-altitude surveillance. Reconnaissance aircraft flew at these heights since the 1950sbut can only fly for hours, not months.

These balloons can fly for weeks or months, costing only hundreds of thousands of dollars to operate, while obtaining similar information using aircraft or satellites can cost millions or tens of millions of dollars.

Like the drones that have become so essential in modern warfare, hot air balloons allow the people who fly them to stay safe on the ground.

Although long airships Was studied for decades together with high-altitude drones that can fly for weeks at the time, the current project had only been in development for three years. The Pentagon launched a new program (called The Covert Long-Dwell Stratospheric Architecture or COLD STAR) in fiscal 2019. Some tests have been carried out on these balloons. reported in 2019 – at the time with the idea of ​​using it to find and track down drug dealers. (And yes, serious questions have been raised about what data these balloons will collect about Americans.)

But they may also have a future in war. The Pentagon is holding demonstrations to evaluate how to use high-altitude balloons and commercial satellites in attacks. This means that they can help not only identify hypersonic weapons, but also shoot them down.

The social, economic, and even political potential of the metaverse has been scrutinized. because the Mark Zuckerberg expressed his vision last summer amid Facebook’s massive rebranding. But what about its potential for production?

Last week, European manufacturing giant Siemens announced a partnership with graphics company Nvidia to create digital factory models that would allow experimentation using Nvidia technology. Universal Platform. As loud as the hype is about the potential use of VR for gaming, shopping, and social media, such a behind-the-scenes app could be more useful. (As an example, Siemens touts the potential of a utility’s “living digital twin” to be analyzed for its heat distribution – to better optimize cooling tower placement and ventilation.)

Companies making major investments in virtual reality technology seem to understand this. XRA, an industry advocacy group founded by Google, Microsoft, Oculus, and others, has successfully lobbied for the language in (now in danger) A USICA technical funding bill that will promote the use of “immersive technology” as a research tool. VR-focused “Reality Caucus” Member of the House of Representatives. Yvette Clark (D-NY) introduced bills to encourage the use of virtual reality in training of federal personnel. – Derek Robertson

More news from the other side of the pond: As the EU moves towards the formalization of a major overhaul already existing technical regulations, the European Commission is planning the next wave of technological breakthroughs.

POLITICO’s Peter Heck reports that the commission has developed 25 “action points” to advance what it calls “deep technologies” – a collection of technological innovations based on advances in basic science in everything from artificial intelligence to quantum computing. The Commission’s “Innovation Agenda” aims to address issues such as access to funding, talent recruitment, the innovation divide between West and East, lack of room for experimentation and policy support tools.

“The Commission’s report also places the initiative squarely in the context of an ambitious EU programme. climate plansas well as trying to close the important gap in funding and research the EU with the US and China (even if the US is dealing with its own internal conflicts around the financing of technology and innovation).

The report says the EU hopes to attract 45 billion euros (roughly $46 billion) of private capital if all of its targets are met within the next three years. – Derek Robertson

Stay in touch with the entire team: Ben Schrekinger ([email protected]); Derek Robertson[email protected]); Konstantin Kakaes (ur.[email protected]); and Heidi Vogt ([email protected]). Follow us on Twitter @DigitalFuture.

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