The drone above, called the Taranis, is one of the most cutting-edge drones in production.
Capable of reaching speeds of more than 700 mph, it could come and go without anyone on the ground noticing it, but for the sound of its sonic boom.
It’s “virtually invisible to radar,” David Coates, a spokesperson for BAE Systems — the company that manufactured the drone — told Tech Insider in an email.
Aptly named for the Celtic god of thunder, the British-made Taranis is one of the most advanced aircraft ever built, and certainly the most advanced built by British engineers.
But its development, especially some of its automatic features, was described in a 2013 UN report as “shrouded in secrecy.” Details about what the Taranis is capable of are under lock and key. Here’s what we do know and why its development has some ethicists worried.
The Taranis isn’t deployed yet, and the UK military has no plans to make it part of its official fleet as it is. It’s what’s called a demonstrator, meaning its being used to test technologies that may be used in future aircraft, according to Coates.
According to BAE’s website, the Taranis is capable of “undertaking sustained surveillance, marking targets, gathering intelligence, deterring adversaries, and carrying out strikes in hostile territory,” all with the supervision of a human operator on the ground.
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