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An AI-equipped drone capable of detecting for itself whether a target is hostile or not before rushing into it to neutralize it… This new weapon, which includes a variety of technologies, very clearly represents a new battlefield that enemies fear.
Lanius is destined to kill. The company that developed it, Elbit Systems, does not hide this: “increased lethality,” she emphasizes in a video presentation of a combat drone. In view of the deployed characteristics of the machine, there is no particular doubt. As we saw in Ukraine, drones are increasingly being used in armed conflicts. They can really take risks instead of their human operators in dangerous areas, conduct reconnaissance and even carry deadly cargo to carry out attacks.
According to Elbit Systems, the Lanius is no exception and is even equipped with many features that make it a formidable adversary. Laniuses, or rather “Laniuses” as we speak, are designed to travel in groups of three. The trio are initially placed on a larger drone that serves as a “mother ship” until they are deployed to a target area. Its maximum takeoff weight is 1.25 kg. This weight includes a lethal or non-lethal payload of up to 150 g. A small lithium battery provides a fairly short operating time of about seven minutes.
The drone has a fairly square shape, covered in sensors and cameras. It is also equipped with artificial intelligence that allows it to analyze data streams very quickly. It is designed to enter an area defined by its operator and starts autonomously displaying it using artificial intelligence capabilities as well as collision avoidance systems. It is capable of detecting and “marking” key points as well as transit areas such as doors and windows. He can also determine if they are closed or open.
“Ambush” mode for monitoring the territory
The drone is also designed to detect people it should classify as friendly or hostile, combatants or non-combatants, armed or not… If it identifies a person as a threat, it doesn’t intervene anyway. his own. He invites his human operator to “hit” the target with the weapon loaded on board. In other words, the drone pilot is offered a choice whether to press the button to go on the attack or not … In the first case, the drone explodes on the spot.
The drone is designed to analyze whether the detected people are hostile or not. © Elbit Systems
Lanius also has an “ambush” mode. If he finds, for example, a closed door or a place to watch, he can land and start watching. If a threat is detected, he will once again offer his operator to eliminate the “threat”. The goal is to be able to stand guard or cover the backs of the team as they move into the danger zone.
At the moment, the autonomy of the drone is significantly reduced, and there are probably many more improvements to be made. However, in just a few years, drones have evolved at an impressive rate, and this type of weapon should not be an exception, despite criticism.
Drone video presentation: