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Drone Wars: How UAV Tech Is Transforming the Future of War

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By 2020 there could be 20,000 drones operating in domestic airspace.

All indicators point to this increasing in scope. A recent academic paper by Mariarosaria Taddeo reported that the US government deployed 150 “robotic weapons” in 2004, and an astonishing 12,000 in 2008. That’s an increase by a factor of 80 in four years (though it’s important to remember that the majority of these drones are unarmed).

Drone Use Increasing

Drones aren’t only used for military purposes; US Customs and Border Protection uses Reaper drones to patrol the border between the US and its neighbors. The Department of Homeland Security is also reportedly using them. Police and fire departments around the country are purchasing drones to help in patrolling. Retailers are testing drones for delivering purchases. You can even get a drone that will follow you around and film you. The FAA estimates that by 2020, there could be up to 30,000 drones operating in domestic airspace. A site dedicated to US national security and defense has estimated that every country in the world will have military drone technology in the next 10 years. Of course, the rise of drones isn’t an isolated event; the cyber battlefront is quickly becoming one of the most active in international conflicts. “Information warfare,” a term that generally includes both drones and cyber warfare, has also given rise to the unnerving creation of ground-based military robots that don’t require any human control. While most drones are remotely operated by soldiers, South Korea’s SGR-A1 (made by Samsung’s defense subsidiary) and Russia’s Taifun-M are two examples of robots with lethal capacity that have self-operating capabilities.

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