Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Army Developing Drones That Can Recognize Your Face From a Distance

Building a 'Soft Biometric' Profile Progeny Systems 
Corporation via Danger Room

It’s not enough for the U.S. military to be able to monitor you from afar. The U.S. Army wants its drones to know you through and through, reports Danger Room, and it is imbuing them with the ability to recognize you in a crowd and even to know what you are thinking and feeling. Like a best friend that at any moment might vaporize you with a hellfire missile.

Of a handful of contracts just handed out by the Army, two are notable for their unique ISR capabilities. One would arm drones with facial recognition software that can remember faces so targets can’t disappear into crowds. The other sounds far more unsettling: a human behavior engine capable of stacking informant info against intelligence data against other evidence to predict a person’s intent. That’s right: the act of determining whether you are friend or foe could be turned over to the machines.

That’s a bit disquieting whether you are an insurgent warfighter or not. But back to the overarching topic at hand: The U.S. military is pulling in more ISR data than it knows what to do with these days, a lot of it useless noise that’s inconsequential to ongoing operations. And, as DR notes, the strategy in Afghanistan has changed from one of winning hearts and minds through nation building projects to targeting specific bad guys.

The hard part is keeping up with the bad guys, and that’s where Progeny Systems Corporation’s “Long Range, Non-cooperative, Biometric Tagging, Tracking and Location” system comes into play. The facial recognition layer of its technology is pretty standard: take some 2-D pictures of a target’s face, use them to build a 3-D model, and then use that 3-D model to recognize the face later.                  More