Making drones more controversial than they already are looks to be a herculean task, but the Pentagon seems eager to meet the challenge, and has unveiled an Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap that is a positively terrifying glimpse into the future.
More drones, bigger drones, stronger drones, and drone motherships that can launch smaller suicide drone “swarms” to attack people and detonate themselves. The drones of tomorrow will be deadlier, longer range, and capable of faster reactions.
But before anyone starts predicting a bull market for drone operator jobs, the plan also envisions autonomy in everything the drones do, including killing people, with the long-term goal being turning the drones loose and letting them figure out who to blow up.
While international efforts are underway to curb runaway drone use, the Pentagon report reads as a wish-list for more and more, and other than a single mention of the prospect of drone funding getting cut sometime after 2020, it seems not to question the underlying merit of flying, autonomous killbots.