In mid-January of this year, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA, has revealed a plan to hide U.S. military drones in the ocean. This idea is part of the agency’s Upward Falling Payloads program, which aims to place inactive drones at the bottom of the sea to be activated when the time is right.
The agency maintains that the purpose of these robots is not necessarily to carry out destruction, but rather to keep an eye on enemies and to jam communication amongst them. While they claim the program’s intent is not to hide weapons, many individuals have begun to fear negative outcomes since this news was released.
On the other hand, the possibility of using ocean floors to hide drones is a technological advancement that is hard to ignore. If members of DARPA are able to accomplish this against the unfavorable conditions present at the bottom of the sea, such as pressure level problems and the issue of launching the payload to the surface once it is down there, it will be a great feat for their agency. Less money will need to be spent on deploying drones that have to travel longer distances. If the drones are able to survive and activate underwater, they can be dropped at various locations to respond to nearby areas more quickly. In periods of war, this would be particularly helpful since time is of the utmost importance. This advancement could also cut military expenses quite a bit.
One of the fears about this new technology is that it will be used to depersonalize the concept of war. Instead of sending in soldiers, the U.S. could send in robots to attack areas or assault other people, thereby desensitizing the population to the negative aspects of war or allowing them to forget the loss of life that takes place because they are no longer directly affected. The agency, however, denies that the drones will be used with lethal intent.
DARPA is currently looking for suggestions as to how to deal with the issue of building a robot that can withstand the pressure levels and other conditions of the bottom of the ocean for extended periods of time.