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A Tech-Military Reunion away from Silicon Valley

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发表于 3-11-2021 10:32:07 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Cade Metz, A Tech-Military Reunion away from Silicon Valley; Several start-ups stepped in as some larger companies hae become concerned about their reactions being weaponized. New York Times, Mar 3, 2021, at page B1 (Business section).
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/ ... -palmer-luckey.html
https://www.denverpost.com/2021/ ... the-ideal-customer/

Quote:

"28-year-old Palmer Luckey * * * talked excitedly about the military potential of the flying machine — a self-piloting [ie, autonomous] drone, called Ghost, that his startup company Anduril built.

"Although parts of Silicon Valley have kept the Pentagon at arm's length in recent years, Luckey's company, based 400 miles to the south in Irvine, is aggressively courting business from government agencies and the military.

In a demonstration run for the reporter "at the company's testing site near Camp Pendleton, a Marine training facility": "As the drone took off and swooped between the hills, Luckey said it could track an object and capture detailed images from seven football fields away. Using many of the artificial intelligence technologies that underpin self-driving cars, Anduril's drones can identify and track vehicles, people and other objects largely on their own.

"Luckey, who sold his previous company, the virtual reality startup Oculus, to Facebook for $2 billion, shrugged off the question of whether tech companies should willingly work with the military and intelligence communities.

"Anduril is backed by several notable ones, including Founders Fund, created by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel; Andreessen Horowitz; and General Catalyst.

"With seed funding from the Founders Fund, Anduril was created in 2017. The founders included several former employees of Palantir, the Founders Fund-backed company that helps collect and analyze data for the government, and Luckey.  
Anduril chose Irvine, the heart of Orange County, partly because of the proximity to military posts and partly because the founders wanted to avoid the growing distrust for military work in Silicon Valley.   'We are 400 miles away from Silicon Valley,' Luckey said. 'Attitudes in Orange County have always been more pro-military.'

"In the drone business, however, Luckey is not alone. A host of startups are building similar technology for the military. Shield AI, founded by a former member of the Navy SEALs, is in San Diego, not far from Anduril. Teal Drones, whose founder emerged from Thiel’s internship program, is in Salt Lake City.

"The Defense Department is hungry for small drones that will track objects and fly into buildings, combat zones and other dangerous areas with little help from remote pilots.

"Anduril — named for a sword in JRR Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy — is also building drones for military use. Standing atop a hill overlooking the site where the company was testing its drones, Luckey and Brian Schimpf, another Anduril co-founder and the company's chief executive, said the drones were used by Britain's Royal Marines and had been tested by US military, but they will not say which branches.

Note:
(a)
(i) The NYT report is locked behind paywall.
(ii) There is no need to read the rest; I am not interested in philosophy.

(b) quotation 3
(i)
(A) For "Camp Pendleton," see Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_Corps_Base_Camp_Pendleton   
("was established in 1942 to train US Marines for service in World War II. * * * was named after Major General Joseph Henry Pendleton (1860–1942), who had long advocated setting up a training base for the Marine Corps on the West Coast")
(B) The English surname Pendleton is name of two places in England, "from the hill name Pendle + Old English tun enclosure, settlement."

Both hills are named the same, Pendle (Hill): one "near Pendlebury, Greater Manchester, or another in Lancashire."  From the same dictionary: Dictionary of American Family Names, by Oxford University Press.
(ii) "capture detailed images from seven football fields away"

football field
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Football_field  
(may refer to: "American football field, a rectangular field, 120.0 yd (109.73 m) × 53 1/3 yd (48.74 m)"
(iii) "Using many of the artificial intelligence technologies that underpin self-driving cars"

If Luckey is using merely technology off the shelf, Maybe anybody else can do the same and construct a drone. There will be nothing unique about it.

(c) quotation 4: "Luckey, who sold his previous company, the virtual reality startup Oculus, to Facebook for $2 billion"

"In July 2012, Palmer Luckey, Brendan Iribe, Michael Antonov and Nate Mitchell founded Oculus VR in Irvine, California. * * *In March 2014, Facebook, Inc acquired Oculus for US$2.3 billion in cash and stock. Shortly afterwards, Oculus VR moved to Menlo Park, where Facebook's headquarters is located."  enwikipedia.org for "Oculus (brand)."

(d) the last quotation: "Anduril — named for a sword in JRR Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy"

In Lord of the Rings, Anduril means "Flame of the West" in Quenya, a fictional language.
(e) Anduril's official website is not helpful -- perhaps because its target customers are military, not general public. The only information in the website is Ghost specification.

https://www.anduril.com/ghost
(length: 2.7m, height: 43cm;  length-collapsed: 1m; Endurance: DJI 27-31 min; Ghost 4  100+ min)

DJI drones use battery, and so is Ghost -- I presume.
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