Yesterday, the U.S. Navy launched an unmanned, autonomous stealth drone from a warship for the first time. Called the X-47B, it’s the first designed to operate an aircraft carrier, which allows it to be used around the world without needing permission to take off from airfields in other countries. Continue reading for a video and more information.

Aside from its ability to operate from aircraft carriers, another big difference between the X-47B and previous drones is that it does not need to be piloted by remote control. Instead, it is controlled by a forearm-mounted box called the Control Display Unit which sends orders to an on-board computer which is able to use artificial intelligence to think for itself, plotting course corrections and charting new directions. The unmanned drone will be set an objective by a human operator, for example a target to look at or bomb, and then it will navigate its way there using technology such as GPS, autopilot and collision avoidance sensors.


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