Rogue Robo-Chopper Flies Into Restricted Airspace Above Washington

Well well! I think we all saw this coming! An unmanned robotic combat helicopter, losing its control signal, continues on its merry way into restricted airspace over Washington, DC. Really, what were they thinking?

The MQ-8 Fire Scout, a model being considered for combat deployment, was undergoing testing with a ground crew when its control connection was somehow lost. Instead of circling aimlessly, as UAVs tend to do when they lose signal, it decided to execute part of its program and start flying northwest, entering restricted airspace along the way.

The ground crew managed to catch up and re-establish contact, and of course it’s not like they’d programmed the thing to fire on any moving target — but the event is still a little scary. What happens when a bug like this one (which they just fixed) get deployed to a whole arsenal? I will tell you: Robocalypse, baby.

It actually is reminiscent of an episode of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, one of the best actually (“Natural Enemy”), in which some military helicopters go haywire and the team has to draw them away from a delicate situation. Hopefully we won’t have to snipe the cyberbrains out of anyone just yet, though.

[via The Register]