Anduril Industries, a Silicon Valley-based anti-drone startup, unveiled their latest military drone called the Ghost 4 on 10th September 2020. The defense startup, founded by Oculus and Palantir executives, raised $200 million dollars in funding this July. In the rising demand for American-made drones amidst the worsening US-China trade relations, the Ghost 4 could prove to be a game-changer.
The Battlefield-Ready AI Drone by Anduril
Ghost 4 brings the best of AI and machine learning on the battlefield. The drone shaped like a small helicopter, the portable and quiet drone can be controlled by just one person on the ground. Additionally, Anduril says that the Ghost 4 drone can collaboratively work in swarms controlled by a single operator to achieve complex missions. This is the first generation of drones that can perform reconnaissance and search for enemy soldiers and weapons, all under the control of just a single operator.
The drone utilizes advanced machine learning to identify targets and analyze real-time imagery. This greatly benefits the drone’s decision-making while working in collective swarms. The drone is 107.3 inches long but collapses to a mere 42.2 inches while folded. The highly portable weather-proof drone can be assembled and launched in under 60 seconds. Apart from the portability factor, Ghost 4’s endurance is miles away from common consumer DJI drones. It boasts a flight time of 100+ minutes which is significantly greater than most military drones (sUAS) on the market.
Speaking of the payload specifications, Palmer Luckey, one of the founders of Anduril, stated that it could be fitted with a variety of payloads ranging from infrared lasers to communication jammers. He also stated that the drone holds the potential to even carry its own weapons and that could be a reality in the foreseeable future. Russia has already pursued such concepts last year in the form of AK-47 carrying drones. However, there are still several technological roadblocks to overcome before weaponized drones are employed on the war fronts.
Bringing AI to the borders
Anduril has long been providing security on the Mexican border using its virtual wall technology also known as the Sentry Tower coupled with fully autonomous drones. It’s Ghost series drones along with Anvil, the counter-drone UAS that knocks rogue drones off the sky are increasingly being employed by government organizations.
The Royal Marines, Navy, and the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) are Anduril’s biggest partners who employ their technology. The company, currently valued at $1.9 billion, could shoot up to $20 billion with its latest IPO filing, making it the largest defense contractor in America.