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Would You Shoot Your Neighbor’s Drone?

As civilian UAVs take to U.S. skies, they’ll face pushback—and perhaps a few shotguns

4 min read
Would You Shoot Your Neighbor’s Drone?
Illustration: Eddie Guy

Two years ago, the U.S. Congress mandated [PDF] that the Federal Aviation Administration integrate robotic aircraft into national airspace by 2015. The FAA has since taken only baby steps toward that goal, but the topic has already sparked much debate—and worry. Initially, the agency, which has been grappling with this issue for the past decade, was focused on avoiding crashes and collisions. But the emphasis has shifted. “In the past year, it’s become more about privacy than safety,” says Brendan Schulman, special counsel at the law firm Kramer, Levin, Naftalis & Frankel, who is defending a client against the FAA in its first civilian drone case. People just don’t want snoopy robots spying on them.

Commentator Charles Krauthammer summed up that sentiment on Fox News in 2012 when he said, “I would predict—I’m not encouraging—but I predict the first guy who uses a Second Amendment weapon to bring a drone down that’s been hovering over his house is going to be a folk hero in this country.” Don’t dismiss such fiery talk as the ravings of a pundit bent on making news. Indeed, there have already been some domestic drone downings: An animal-rights group attempting to document the cruelty of “pigeon shoots” has had a camera-equipped multicopter blown out of the air more than once.

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Video Friday: Humanoid Soccer

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read
Humans and human-size humanoid robots stand together on an indoor soccer field at the beginning of a game

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
ICRA 2023: 29 May–2 June 2023, LONDON

Enjoy today’s videos!

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Array of devices on a chip

This analog electrochemical memory (ECRAM) array provides a prototype for artificial synapses in AI training.

IBM research

How far away could an artificial brain be? Perhaps a very long way off still, but a working analogue to the essential element of the brain’s networks, the synapse, appears closer at hand now.

That’s because a device that draws inspiration from batteries now appears surprisingly well suited to run artificial neural networks. Called electrochemical RAM (ECRAM), it is giving traditional transistor-based AI an unexpected run for its money—and is quickly moving toward the head of the pack in the race to develop the perfect artificial synapse. Researchers recently reported a string of advances at this week’s IEEE International Electron Device Meeting (IEDM 2022) and elsewhere, including ECRAM devices that use less energy, hold memory longer, and take up less space.

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FAST Labs’ Cutting-Edge R&D Gets Ideas to the Field Faster

BAE Systems’ FAST Labs engineers turn breakthrough innovations into real-life impact

1 min read

FAST Labs is an R&D organization where research teams can invent and see their work come to life.

BAE Systems

This is a sponsored article brought to you by BAE Systems.

No one sets out to put together half a puzzle. Similarly, researchers and engineers in the defense industry want to see the whole picture – seeing their innovations make it into the hands of warfighters and commercial customers.

That desire is fueling growth at BAE Systems’ FAST Labs research and development (R&D) organization.

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