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Tue, Nov 29, 2022

New Racing-Inspired Quadcopter Scouts, Maps, and Kills

Elbit Takes Small Step Towards Totally Not-Terrifying UAV Hunter-Killer Swarms

Elbit Systems unveiled the Lanius, a small racing-derived quadcopter designed to locate, identify, and destroy dismounted personnel. 

The small, lightweight system builds on civilian racing drones as a base for a highly maneuverable, lightweight, and screaming fast little UAV. Of course, sane people everywhere are understandably leery of the idea of a fully autonomous drone floating around, looking to identify "hostile" personnel and engaging whatever it pleases, given the overall middling state of AI performance today. Elbit assures would-be customers that there's nothing to worry about, since the drone will only engage human targets with operator approval... so at least there's a button press involved. (Hopefully the sensors are high resolution, wouldn't want an "oopsie" due to misidentification) 

Portents of a future autonomous killbot nightmare aside, the Lanius is merely the most recent release in an industry expanding the bounds of drone tech, more popular than ever as thousands of hours of footage arise from conflicts in Eastern Europe and Asia showing the impressive combat capability of improvised commercial quadcopters. Taking a page from "necessity", inventors are looking to design the perfect blend of lightweight, functional, and lethal autonomous aircraft. 

The overall package of the Lanius will be somewhat popular with those carrying them, with a sub-4 lb MGTOW, and a payload of only 150 grams. Like its racing forebears, the little sprinter can run along at 45 mph. While that top speed isn't quite competitive with modern screamers from DJI and company, it's fast enough to make a hard target to connect with. Like any small aircraft, that performance comes at a cost, offering only 7 minutes of endurance. 

While in action, the Lanius can autonomously take off, navigate, and map 3D structures. While scouting the surroundings, it can take note of passageways into target buildings, then, should an attack be approved, discharge its munitions of unspecified strength. Elbit hints that the Lanius may be equipped with less-lethal munitions, too, or used as part of its upcoming Legion-X swarm system. 



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