Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt jumps into AI attack drones space, looks to transform military tech | Tech News

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt jumps into AI attack drones space, looks to transform military tech

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt quietly launches White Stork, a startup developing AI attack drones in the U.S. and Ukraine, aiming to revolutionise military technology.

| Updated on: Jan 25 2024, 16:07 IST
Now, you can Snapchat from the SKY! Check out Snapchat Pixy drone
Eric Schmidt
1/5 Developers at Snap Inc call Pixy a camera and while this is true, Pixy drone also has all the regular features of a consumer drone. Weighing just 101 grams, Snap claims the drone’s battery can last anywhere between 6 to 8 flights. (Snap Inc.)
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2/5 According to Tech Radar, the Pixy drone can reach a maximum height of 30 ft. which can be pre-determined. The drone moves along four preset paths that are stored in its memory, keeping the camera focused on you. (Snap Inc.)
Eric Schmidt
3/5 Although not the most technologically advanced, the Pixy drone is made for Snapchat enthusiasts. It works similar to Snap Spectacles and transmits photos and videos to Memories wirelessly. In terms of specs, Pixy has a 20MP sensor that shoots 12MP images and videos of 2.7k at 30 fps. (Snap Inc.)
Eric Schmidt
4/5 However, one shortcoming is that you cannot control the drone via your phone and you cannot see the captured images or videos until they have been transmitted to your device. Snap told TechRadar, and you can export your photos and videos to platforms other than Snapchat. (Pixabay)
Eric Schmidt
5/5 Snap also said that Pixy has a second camera and a sensor on the bottom that detects your hand for landing. It uses the camera on the front to take photos and video, but also to identify your face and body so it can track them for the photos and videos. (Snap Inc.)
Eric Schmidt
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Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO, quietly launches White Stork, a startup focusing on AI attack drones. (Bloomberg)

Away from the media spotlight, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is silently steering his latest project, White Stork, towards the production of AI attack drones in the United States and Ukraine. The startup, shrouded in secrecy through a network of LLCs, is actively working on mass-producing drones with advanced AI capabilities for target identification.

Established officially in August, White Stork operates discreetly under the radar, yet details about its ambitious plans are surfacing. The company aims to develop drones equipped with artificial intelligence for visual targeting, specifically designed to operate seamlessly even in GPS-jammed environments, according to a report by Forbes.

While still in stealth mode, White Stork's activities have become an open secret within the drone community, with Schmidt personally involved in exploring Ukrainian factories and testing ranges. His engagement extends to outreach with various startups, leveraging his role as a prominent military tech investor.

From Swift Beat to White Stork Group LLC

Delaware business records reveal that White Stork initially operated under the name Swift Beat Holdings before rebranding as White Stork Group LLC in September. Volya Robotics OÜ, a holding company for Swift Beat, identifies Schmidt as its sole beneficial owner.

Schmidt, who led Google until 2011 and later chaired the Department of Defense's Innovation Board, has a history of involvement in AI and military technology. His commitment to AI-powered combat drones aligns with his previous role as the chair of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence.

Notably, Schmidt has been a vocal advocate for drone technology, particularly after Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed last July, he emphasised the significance of kamikaze drones, cost-effective aircraft capable of evading traditional defences and providing a strategic advantage on the battlefield.

Having expressed frustration with the slow tech adoption by the US military, Schmidt's push into the AI-powered drone sector underscores his commitment to advancing technology for defence purposes. As his venture, White Stork, gradually unveils its operations, it is poised to make significant contributions to the evolving landscape of military technology.

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First Published Date: 25 Jan, 16:06 IST