back to article In this round of 'Real life or Black Mirror episode', drones that hunt down humans by listening to their screams

Researchers at Fraunhofer FKIE have unveiled a system that teaches drones to hunt down humans by listening to their screams. Yes, it's a perfectly reasonable use of technology which will definitely not come back to haunt humanity in any way, shape, or form. "We have a lot of experience in filtering noise, such as wind noise, …

  1. Swarthy Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Well, Shit!

    We all know the road that's paved with good intentions, and now these drones don't even need a road.

    But I'm sure it's fine. These technologies will not come back to hunt, err, haunt us - at all. Nope. It's all good.

    I just hope there's no SNIFFDRONE near-by, it would be able to find me after reading that article

    1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

      Re: Well, Shit!

      It's always just benign, until it isn't!

      It can't be reasoned with, it can't be bargained doesn't feel pity of remorse or fear...and it absolutely will not stop.Ever. Until you are dead.

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: Well, Shit!

        That's the Civil Service, isn't it?

  2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    Wrong sound I think

    In the heat of an emergency people scream, but by the time rescuers with drones have arrived I suspect people buried under rubble will be moaning rather than screaming, so that's what the drones should be listening for. However, that could lead to potentially embarrassing misunderstandings.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Wrong sound I think

      But for hunting down packs of teenage Justin Beiber fans - I think we can all welcome our drone overlords

      1. My-Handle Silver badge

        Re: Wrong sound I think

        Look, I might scream when I hear or see Justin Beiber, but that most definitely doesn't mean I'm a fan.

    2. Chris G

      Re: Wrong sound I think

      Absolutely right, which is why life jackets have a whistle, people trying not to die don't have the energy to shout or scream for long, how would for example, someone trapped in rubble, know to shout at a drone, assuming they could hear it?

      When I lived in the boonies in N.Cal the recommendations for a winter car survival kit was also to carry a whistle, if you have slid off the road in icy conditions and/or you phone is out of battery, a rescue whistle is the simplest way to attract attention.

      How that applies to victims of disasters I don't know, perhaps we should all carry a whistle at all times!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wrong sound I think

        "perhaps we should all carry a whistle at all times!"

        and a towel.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wrong sound I think

      I can see the future grenade, lob it at your enemies, keeps screaming... All the while your own boom boxes blare the calm voice of our Glorious Prime Minister...

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Wrong sound I think

      Agreed, though autonomously recognizing cries for help could be useful for a rescue-assistance drone. I suspect this is mostly a proof-of-concept, and what rescue teams would really like are drones using a model trained on various types of evidence to map an area and indicate the spots to prioritize for further investigation.

  3. Nifty Silver badge

    Would be victims will have to find a quiet place.

  4. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Paris Hilton


    No ROTM tag?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Wot?

      Not yet. This statement "In Varela's defence, the technology is not intended to allow future autonomous battle machines " about 'intentions'. But then, we all know what the road to hell is paved with.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    the HK-Aerial Terminator

    With the noise that thing made in the film, my first thought was that it couldn't possibly hear anything. It likely tracked its victimes via radar or infrared. The fandom wiki says nothing on how it tracks, it just gives gushing praise on armaments and troop-carrying capacity.

    From what I recall from the movie, soldiers on the ground were pretty much able to move around freely as long as they stayed out of line-of-sight. They could even talk, but of course, military talk, not table-side chit-chat.

    Of course, having read about how we already have companies with "vast experience in filtering unwanted noise", there could well be a new timeline where the buggers can filter out their own engine noise and hear a human running. From there, we're one step away from an area-of-effect missile showering an area 50sq meters around the supposed location of the sound, and that goose is pretty much cooked.

    1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: the HK-Aerial Terminator

      From there, we're one step away

      That someday is today.

      1. MacroRodent

        Re: the HK-Aerial Terminator

        Obviously we now need to develop autonomous killer drones that are programmed to kill hostile autonomous killer drones...

        Two such swarms fighting each other to death would be an interesting sight.

  6. Nightkiller

    In Germany, no one can hear you scream.

    1. Friendly Neighbourhood Coder Dan

      Or know what you are screaming about, until you finally finished screaming.

  7. Dinanziame Silver badge

    - So who's funding your research?

    - The DoD, why?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A poop-smelling drone? Well, that about sews up the Ig-Nobel prize for this year.

  9. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    What a pong


    A friend of mine who works for a water utility company maintaining the technical infrastructure (sensors, IT at remote locations and IT and sensors in 'difficult to reach' locations) told me that when his parent's dishwasher was being serviced due to being bunged up, the smell made him retch. And yes he has at times in his career been literally covered head to foot in 'raw' sewage.

    Moral of the story: get those dishwasher cleaner tablets and USE them! You don't need a sniff drone to know what to do.


    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: What a pong

      washing machines and dryers end up smelling equally bad - keep them clean for the same reason

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a pong

      You have no need for expensive tablets.

      Good old chlorine bleach is cheap, and works better. Just run an empty bleach load every few months.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What a pong

        "[...] chlorine bleach is cheap [...]"

        Chlorinated water will potentially degrade some plastic components.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What a pong

        In addition to chlorine affecting some components, the stench is also coming from an alkaline source.

        Much better to use spirit vinegar, or baking soda. Vinegar also removing limescale if you're in a hard water area

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Researchers at Fraunhofer FKIE

    from mp3 to drone killers. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  11. staringatclouds

    "In Varela's defence, the technology is not intended to allow future autonomous battle machines - which may or may not look like the HK-Aerial craft from James Cameron's 1984 classic The Terminator - to track down the few remaining human survivors of an inevitable robot uprising by listening to their pitiful cries for mercy"

    Skynet was "intended" to save lives

    1. Chris G

      "Skynet was "intended" to save lives"

      Arguably, so is the nuclear deterrent!

      1. Robert Grant Silver badge

        So are emergency services.

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