Unmanned aerial vehicle assassination is unstoppable: cheap, deadly, accessible to everyone.

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 Unmanned aerial vehicle assassination is unstoppable: cheap, deadly, accessible to everyone.


It was an explosive-carrying UAV flying along Caracashistoric Bolvar Avenue. It is alleged that this is an assassination operation using a remote control UAV equipped with explosives. You can buy that kind of UAV in any electronics store, and explosives are not hard to find. Jai Galliott, a visiting researcher at the Institute of Modern Warfare, called the incident a modern form of assassination.

You can see trouble everywhere.

In 2015, an off-duty clerk at the U.S. government intelligence agency showed how easy it is to sneak into heavily guarded sites. He borrowed a friends Phantom drone, two feet square, but accidentally managed to fly it to the White House lawn. Officials didnt notice it, and White House radars were usually more concerned with larger threats, such as aircraft and missiles.

In 2016, Kurdish forces shot down a small UAV in northern Iraq, which exploded and killed two fighters while inspecting the unrecognized UAV. In January, a group of homemade drones loaded with explosives were foiled by military Countermeasures before attacking a Russian air base in Syria.

There are many kinds of UAVs. Most military UAVs are similar to aircraft. The US air force uses a MQ-9 wingspan of 20 meters, while the stores UAV can be placed in your palm. They all have varying degrees of autonomy, some military UAVs can even fly independently, but without human participation, they can not use weapons to target and kill targets. Toby Walsh, professor of artificial intelligence at the Australian Academy of Sciences, said: Advances in military technology have made war more and more distant. We are close to such a degree that future wars may no longer take humans directly into battle.

Figure 2: The MQ-9 Reaper RPA is preparing for a training mission at Creek Air Force Base, Nevada, November 17, 2015

UAV Hunter

In Caracas, Maduro first noticed the UAVs flying in mid air and continued his speech. Two minutes later, a loud noise roared over its head. It is reported that the explosion point is less than a football field away from Maduro. The bodyguards quickly surrounded the president. 14 seconds later, the second explosion took place two blocks away. 7 soldiers were wounded in the attack. According to the Venezuelan government, the explosions were caused by two Matrice 600 unmanned aerial vehicles carrying about 6 kilograms of C4 plastic explosives, the kind used by the military and law enforcement agencies. Maduros political opponents were accused of creating attacks.

With UAV attacks like Caracas and other incidents being widely reported in the media, there is a growing awareness of the multiple uses of commercial UAVs. The bad guys are thinking about it, and thats the risk of any new technology, Galliot said. Addressing commercial UAVs is a challenge for security personnel to consider not only blocking UAVs, but also tracking their sources.

The main countermeasure used by law enforcement personnel is signal interference. There are two ways: the first is to interfere with radio frequency used for control systems, usually at frequencies of 2.4GHz or 5.8GHz. The second way is to interfere with GPS signals and use UAVs to find their operators. But these methods also have shortcomings. Interference frequencies may shield all other devices that use the same frequency, and interfering with GPS may deprive law enforcement of the ability to track unmanned aerial vehicles to find criminals. To make matters worse, most modern UAVs are programmed to land automatically because of the loss of signals. And when the UAVs are equipped with bombs, this design is obviously not ideal.

Another option is to shoot it down. However, if there are explosives on the UAV, it may endanger the safety of civilians on the ground. But if the UAV itself can become a solution? Forten Technologies, Utahs air safety company, has built a UAV to deal with other UAVs. The UAV hunter can automatically track enemy UAVs, launch a net at a speed of 120 kilometers per hour and tow them to safety.

Ultimately, measures taken against UAVs depend on what the environment and law enforcement agencies hope to achieve. Galliot said, this is a very complicated field. He pointed out that unmanned aerial vehicle attacks such as Caracas are not confined to political events. Beaches, open-air shopping malls, airports, football matches are potential targets that FBI, local and state police departments should pay attention to.

Figure 3: On January 7, 2016, the United States launched an air strike on IS using an MQ-1B Predator UAV carrying Hellfire missiles from a secret base in the Persian Gulf region

Predator UAV

Seventeen years ago, there were first reports of UAV assassinations involving the U.S. Air Forces Predator, not commercial UAVs. It was 2001, less than a month after the 9/11 terrorist attack. The war on terrorism is unfolding in Afghanistan, and the United States is launching a campaign to eliminate al-Qaeda. The top Taliban commander, Mullah Omar, was found in a building in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar. Although the Predator drone had not yet undergone much testing and its rules of use were vague, the Air Force ordered it to strike and destroy the building and everything inside.

However, the attack was not going well. Instead of aiming at the building, the propeller-mounted UAV with Hellfire missiles hit a car outside and killed several bodyguards. In the ensuing chaos, the Taliban leader escaped. If you use current technology, semi-autonomous weapons like Predator UAVs, and then evacuate unrelated personnel, Omar might have to be careful, Walsh said.

The international debate among AI experts over whether or not to ban lethal autonomous weapons (LAW) is raging. In July, 2,400 scientists and AI experts, including the chief executive of Tesla Electric Vehicles, Elon Musk and Walsh, signed a commitment calling on governments to develop pre-emptive strike strategies against lethal, autonomous weapons.

But Galliot believes the Caracas attacks prove that less advanced civilian UAVs are a more pressing issue. He said: this is a point which is ignored by people who emphasize the danger of military system. They are more advanced systems. If there is no complete team, civilians can not use it. And these ubiquitous commercial UAVs can now be bought.

The consumption of UAVs is becoming more and more advanced. The UAVs in Dajiang are mainly used for aerial photography. The battery life time and range of the UAVs increase with each iteration. The companys entry-level Phantom3 four axis UAV can fly for 1 minutes within 25 km. Next, Phantom4 can fly for 28 minutes within 5 km. Representatives of Ozawa said the company knew its UAV was being used in the Caracas attacks, but the vast majority of UAV pilots are flying safely and responsibly.

Adam Lisberg, North Americas chief spokesman, said: The UAVs built in Xinjiang are purely for peaceful purposes and condemn any misuse of this technology. This technology has brought great benefits to the whole world.

In view of the potential threat of UAVs, governments have adopted a series of safety measures.

In the United States, the altitude of UAVs has been legally limited - 400 feet (about 120 meters). Galliot said that the solution can therefore be attributed to limiting the scope of flight of UAV Systems. He said governments inevitably need to consider how to control the impact of UAVs. After the UAV assassination, the Venezuelan government issued arrest warrants for 27 people, including military personnel and opposition politicians. The key is that anyone can learn to make similar devices. Galliot said, people are receiving training in high schools and universities to develop these things. Online forums such as MavicPilots.com are full of discussions about the builders of amateur UAVs. A lot of people are actually instructing how to remove existing protections for commercial UAVs, such as altitude or range limits, Galliot said. Anyone can turn a UAV into a deadly weapon, which is more and more difficult to stop. (small) source: NetEase science and technology report editor: Zhang Jie _NT5630

In the United States, the altitude of UAVs has been legally limited - 400 feet (about 120 meters). Galliot said that the solution can therefore be attributed to limiting the scope of flight of UAV Systems. He said governments inevitably need to consider how to control the impact of UAVs. After the UAV assassination, the Venezuelan government issued arrest warrants for 27 people, including military personnel and opposition politicians.

The key is that anyone can learn to make similar devices. Galliot said, people are receiving training in high schools and universities to develop these things. Online forums such as MavicPilots.com are full of discussions about the builders of amateur UAVs. A lot of people are actually instructing how to remove existing protections for commercial UAVs, such as altitude or range limits, Galliot said. Anyone can turn a UAV into a deadly weapon, which is more and more difficult to stop. (small)