January 29, 2006 |
Despite protests from other countries, the United States is expanding a top-secret effort to kill suspected terrorists with drone-fired missiles as it pursues an increasingly decentralized Al Qaeda, U.S. officials say. The CIA's failed Jan. 13 attempt to assassinate Al Qaeda second-in-command Ayman Zawahiri in Pakistan was the latest strike in the "targeted killing" program, a highly classified initiative that officials say has broadened as the network splintered and fled Afghanistan.
October 9, 2005 |
Four driverless vehicles outfitted with lasers, radar and GPS conquered a grueling 131-mile course in the Nevada desert Saturday, achieving a milestone in robotics that will win one of the teams a $2-million prize from the Defense Department. "You really have seen history made," said Anthony Tether, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which sponsored the race. "We have a winner." It was unclear, however, who that was.
October 5, 2005 |
The riderless motorcycle tore out of the chute and promptly plowed into a tin barricade. Then, to the amazement of hundreds of spectators at Fontana's California Speedway, the 90cc Yamaha named Ghostrider picked itself up and sped away. A year ago, 15 robot competitors participated in the Defense Department's first million-dollar challenge to design a vehicle that could drive and navigate without a human controller.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 11, 2005 |
In the midst of the Cold War, when Nike missile sites dotted the Southland, a bright red runaway Navy drone airplane veered off course and headed for Los Angeles, triggering a dangerous sequence of events known as the "Battle of Palmdale." It's not a battle that the military could say it won back on Aug. 16, 1956.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 31, 2005 |
The U.S. Border Patrol said Tuesday that it would use an unmanned plane to spot human and drug smugglers along the Mexican border. The agency will pay $14.1 million for a Predator B plane, including one year of service and maintenance, said agency spokesman Mario Villarreal. The Predator B will begin patrolling the border next month. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., the manufacturer, says it has delivered seven Predator Bs to the U.S. Air Force.
August 23, 2005 |
Hoping to reduce human casualties in Iraq, the Army is preparing to use unmanned robotic ground vehicles built by Northrop Grumman Corp. for use in surveillance and border-security missions, the company said Monday. It would be the first use of autonomous ground vehicles in a combat zone, the Century City-based defense contractor said.
April 12, 2005 |
The militant group Hezbollah flew a spy drone over northern Israel, saying it was in retaliation for Israel's flights over Lebanon. The Israeli military confirmed that the plane crossed into the western part of Israel's Galilee region. It was the second time in recent months that the Shiite Muslim guerrilla group had sent an unmanned drone over Israel.
November 8, 2004 |
In a development that could heighten tensions between Israel and Iran, guerrillas of the Lebanon-based Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah succeeded Sunday, apparently for the first time, in penetrating Israeli airspace with an unmanned aerial drone. The Israeli military acknowledged the incursion in a terse statement and said the aircraft had been supplied by Iran.
August 7, 2004 |
With its plank-like wings and a leisurely cruising speed of 84 mph, the propeller-driven Predator spy plane looked pokey compared with the fighter jets zooming across the desert sky. But when the Predator made a picture-perfect landing, 600 people encircled it. The crowd appeared eager to hoist the pilot to their shoulders -- except the plane doesn't have a pilot or a cockpit or any windows. The Predator was "piloted" by a computer operator working a joystick in a nearby trailer.
May 21, 2004 |
NASA said it was launching a program that could have robotic planes and conventionally piloted aircraft routinely and safely sharing civil airspace by 2008. Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, are now limited primarily to restricted test or military airspace. Industry association UAV National Industry Team, the Department of Defense and the Federal Aviation Administration are participating in the program, which aims to deliver to the FAA proposals for sharing airspace.