Former Google CEO secretly builds AI-equipped kamikaze drones for $400: they can change the war in Ukraine

Dmytro IvancheskulNews
Mass production of cheap drones could reduce the value of conventional arms deals. Source: The Armed Forces of Ukraine

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has created a startup called White Stork, which aims to provide Ukraine with inexpensive kamikaze drones that can be used in the war with Russia. These drones will be equipped with artificial intelligence technologies but will cost only $400 each.

The details of the project, which has been kept secret for a long time, were revealed by Interesting Engineering. Schmidt's project is at the intersection of AI and military technology and can provide Ukraine with much-needed advanced technologies. It will also allow the development of an American alternative to Chinese drones.

The company from which the startup grew was officially founded in August 2023, but since then, according to Forbes, it has changed its name several times. In addition to Schmidt, Sebastian Thrun, a well-known figure in the tech world and co-founder of the Google X research lab, will also work on the startup. This, according to the media, indicates how technologically challenging the project is.

The company's main goal is to create a mass-produced UAV that will use AI for visual targeting. In addition, such drones will be able to operate in an environment with impaired communication caused by GPS jamming.

The project is still in secrecy, but it is already being discussed in the UAV development community, in part because of Schmidt's involvement and his active efforts to support Ukraine's military capabilities.

In an article for the Wall Street Journal in July 2023, Schmidt wrote that the production of one AI-equipped drone is estimated to cost about $400. It is this cost-effectiveness of production that can make these drones very relevant for Ukraine. In addition, as Schmidt noted, the mass production of such drones could reduce the value of conventional arms sales deals.

Previously, the startup's operations were hidden under different names, including Swift Beat Holdings, which later changed its name to White Stork Group LLC.

Media reports indicate that Schmidt, who has extensive connections in the government and is known for strategic investments in defense technology, could become a key player connecting Silicon Valley and the Pentagon.

The development of AI-powered kamikaze drones by White Stork has the potential to change not only the situation on the frontline in Ukraine but also the future landscape of warfare, IE notes.

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