US military planning to fund fleets of ‘small, smart, cheap’ drones

Department of Defense and Pentagon
Image: Celal Gunes / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Pentagon is considering expanding its fleet of drones and autonomous systems in the next two years, possibly enhancing it with AI.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said the Department of Defense plans to develop AI systems “intended to be small, smart, [and] cheap” to counter threats from China and other countries.

The Journal said Hicks will announce plans to add more capabilities to the country’s network of drones and sensors that monitor military activities in other countries. One such possibility is a fleet of solar-powered “distributed pods of self-propelled [autonomous] systems” that can provide near-real-time information. The department may also look into autonomous ground-based…

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