Thursday, October 29, 2015

Semi-Autonomous becoming Autonomous

Today we live in a world where technology is very resourceful. More specifically, we can program technology to do things for us and limit human activity. The downside to many technologies, is that humans have to program the technologies in order for them to perform the various and duties that they were built to do. Many researches and developers are taking steps to make these technologies autonomous, meaning that they do not rely on human programming to tell them what to do. Although not autonomous, Researchers have worked towards constructing semi-autonomous technologies, in the hope of one day creating a fully autonomous piece of technology that is fully independent.
            One very useful piece of technology that is increasingly being integrated into society are drones. Drones can be used for various tasks. They can be used commercially for simple means of photography/video and even militarily for various inspection and surveillance duties. The downside to many of these drones is that they need human operators in order to take flight. Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology inZurich have developed a drone unlike many of its predecessors, in that it has a “sense of its own.” Zurich’s drone can actually build a 3D map of any environment with in depth images to “plan the most direct route possible to any target destination.” Zurich team drone uses, “a small quadrotor that weighs 1.6 kilograms, the AsTec Firefly, and [is] equipped with a stereo camera and sensors that report velocity, orientation, and gravitational forces.”
I believe that there many benefits and disadvantages to this new semi-autonomous drone. Imagine how the drone can benefit the military. Military operations like search and rescue missions could be much more successful. With the Drones 3D mapping capability, a prisoner of war or a soldier missing in action could be found in very a short time. With the Drones data, it could map the quickest way for a group of soldiers to rescue a Prisoner of War or a soldier missing in action. On the other hand, imagine what this drone could do if it were hacked. The 3D mapping technology could be used by criminals and terrorists and assist them in planning things like robberies, home invasions or on a grander scale, terroristic attacks.
            I think that before researches take more and more steps towards making machines fully autonomous, they need to weight the benefits and disadvantages of the autonomous drone. If they were to make the drone autonomous, it should be embedded with an advanced security system, so that it can be used by whom ever needs to use it for significant reasons, such as the military. In saying this, I would go so far as to say that this autonomous drone, if it is ever constructed, should only be used by governmental organizations and not commercially. If an autonomous drone is sold to the public, how easy would it be for someone like me to use its advanced technology for mischievous reasons.


1 comment:

  1. I believe that autonomous drones can have many uses, particularly in the military. In addition to being used to assist in the rescue of POW’s and soldiers that are MIA, as you mentioned, these drones can be also used in real time to even draw out a battle plan during a firefight. They could do this by drawing out a map of the terrain in which the battle is being fought and provide the soldiers with a possible plan of action to outflank an enemy and gain an advantage. There is also the downside, as you mentioned, of the possibility that these drones could potentially be hacked. Given enough time and resources, anything can be hacked. All the precautions must be taken and the best security be put in place to ensure that this doesn’t happen. I also agree with you on the point that these types of drones should not be sold to the public or made easily accessible, and only be used by the government and military. However, I believe that autonomous drones should be utilized in everyday life by companies and individuals, but this particular type of drone, one with 3-D mapping should be exclusive to the government and military for the reasons that you have previously stated


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.