An AI-flown military aircraft is being designed in Australia. Are our laws equipped to protect us?

An AI-flown military aircraft is being designed in Australia. Are our laws equipped to protect us?

In September, Boeing announced it would design and build a new military aircraft in Queensland, a first in Australia for over 50 years.

The “Loyal Wingman” is an uncrewed craft that flies in teams with other crewed and uncrewed aircraft to provide surveillance and reconnaissance support to a mission. But it could also be fitted with weapons. It completed its first test flight in March and plans are to have the production facility up and running in just a few years.

Although a lot of defence forces have used uncrewed aircraft — including drones — for a long time, they have primarily been remotely piloted from the ground. The test of the Loyal Wingman involved pre-programmed flying with human oversight.

However, the Loyal Wingman is ultimately being designed to use artificial intelligence to complete flights without real-time human oversight.

This raises questions of whether our laws are adequate to protect us from a host of concerns involving health, safety and data collection when autonomous aircraft

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