RealNetworks completed a contract to adapt the SAFR system for military UAVs. The transaction value was $729,056.
The US military has received drones that can recognize people’s faces from a bird’s eye view. Popular Mechanics reveals what new technology could change on the battlefield.
Under the contract, in 2021, the US Department of Defense ordered a facial recognition system for the Air Force that can be equipped with autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles. The development was taken up by the American company RealNetworks, based in Seattle. The order was completed in December 2022, the transaction amount was $729,056.
In the contract description, RealNetworks promised to adapt its SAFR facial recognition platform for military UAVs used for reconnaissance, surveillance and other operations. For this, the software had to be integrated with the hardware and software “stuffing” of the drone, connected to the on-board computer, communication and remote control systems. Engineers noted that the platform will allow operators to analyze data remotely, and drones to autonomously respond in real time. Thus, the aircraft will be able to distinguish between friends and enemies, as well as find specific people.
The US Army is not the only one trying to combine drone technology with facial recognition. For example, in 2019, AnyVision from Israel filed a patent for a technology that makes drones look for angles to capture people in order to further identify them. The developers explained that when trying to recognize faces using UAV cameras, there are some problems, first of all, poor image quality and awkward angles.
In Dubai, the police are already using drones equipped with facial recognition to track violators of traffic rules. In the US, the police want to use a similar technology, but so far its implementation has been actively opposed by privacy advocates. In addition, American experts believe that facial recognition systems are inaccurate enough to lead to false arrests. In the case of military drones, it is not freedom that is at stake, but the lives of people.
Recently, Ukraine was criticized for using AI Clearview AI to identify the bodies of the occupiers. The system contains 20 billion images of people that allow them to be identified from images. Experts argue that facial recognition technologies do not give one hundred percent accuracy, but at the same time they can violate the rights of people: both the living and the dead.
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