Ukraine develops AI-powered drones that recognize Russian army uniforms before attacking

A Ukrainian startup has developed a new drone with artificial intelligence which can recognize and attack targets based on visual cues such as a specific uniform. This drone can work in swarms of up to 7 units that communicate with each other. The company, which The Defense Post reported without mentioning the name, claims that the drones can make quick decisions autonomouslybut to prevent accidents such as potential friendly fire, They can only attack with the authorization of a human.

In addition to carrying out attack actions, the new drones can also be used for more traditional roles such as reconnaissance and intelligence gathering. The company claims that all of these actions can be performed ‘faster than any human could’. Once deployed, the drone swarm is expected to provide Ukraine with a significant advantage against Russian forces on the battlefield.

Serhii Kuprienko, founder of the startup, has compared its impact on the conflict to that of the introduction of the steam engine in factories. ‘It’s the equivalent of taking the steam engine to the factory many years ago. Our main mission is to have robots fight, not humans‘, he assures.

This philosophy underlines Ukraine’s growing investment in autonomous platforms that it hopes will be effective against the Russian military. while avoiding further military casualties. The Times recently revealed that before the invasion, in February 2022, kyiv had only about 20 military technology companies. Currently, there are more than 200 organizations working on defense technology, particularly in autonomous systems. ‘They (the Russians) fight, they die, they send more people; do not care. But that’s not how we see war.‘, he pointed out Alex BornyakovDeputy Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine.

Bornyakov also explained that Ukraine is testing the use of swarming drones with at least one other company besides Kuprienko’s and that while drones can operate autonomously, human verification is required for targeting to ensure compliance with ethical and safety standards. ‘Technically, drones could do it themselves’, he added. Kuprienko claimed that his drones can be programmed to recognize and shoot based on uniforms. However, he stressed, ‘we do not allow it for ethical and security reasons’.

Kuprienko told The Times that she remembers politicians assuring her that would never cross this line, but it has now been done with little controversy Although the ethical debate over autonomous weapons continues among military experts, Kuprienko reiterates, however, that a human commander must approve each attack. He acknowledges that some commanders might prefer full autonomy to maximize the swarm’s effectiveness, adding that ‘We’re fighting a war here, and we want to win’.