The proliferation of workflows in which robotics and artificial intelligence intersect has elevated human performance, intelligence gathering, and data analysis. Unmanned systems have become vital in the 21st century in order to engage the dullest, dirtiest, and most dangerous tasks, not to mention military operations. While computers were once regarded with skepticism and apprehension, no one can imagine an industry today that hasn’t been redefined by their power.
Unmanned systems of the 20th century have inched their way into the public spotlight and today these drone systems are front and center of many industries. For example, in the entertainment industry the popular band Muse titled their 2015 concept album Drones, drones thwart Spider-Man in Marvel’s blockbuster movie Spider-Man: Far from Home, and finally, drones are the tool of choice of literally every villain in the hit British television series, Black Mirror. These are just a few examples of how unmanned systems, particularly drones, are portrayed in entertainment media.
Did you know that the elephant is the only land mammal that can’t jump? True story. Some other interesting facts – Taylor Swift has won more Grammy awards than Elvis Presley, the popsicle was invented by accident – and with the combined growth in sophistication of artificial intelligence and robotic hardware, it is not uncommon for unmanned robotic systems to be used in scenarios completely unrelated to defense, surveillance, or any related combat scenario. Given the association between robots and the technologically heightened military age, it may be surprising to hear that unmanned systems hold a wealth of promise and application in diverse humanitarian causes.