Tech Company Develops Racing Drone That Can Target Enemies

It can be used for short-range operations in urban areas.

Israeli aerospace and defense company Elbit Systems revealed what it calls a versatile drone-based loitering munition. The autonomous drone is named Lanius, and it can be used for short-range operations in urban areas.

Part of the Elbit Systems’ Legion-X robotic and autonomous combat solution, Lanius is a racer quadcopter drone with the ability to perform checks for potential threats, relay the information to Legion-X solutions and reach a top speed of 45 miles per hour.

While Lanius maps out a location, AI algorithms help it to avoid collisions and classify weapons and people; therefore knowing the difference between armed combatants and unarmed civilians.

Lanius especially makes its mark with the lethal and non-lethal payloads it carries while engaging a target. 

A promotional video by Elbit Systems shows three drones arriving on a mothership drone during a conflict. The drone autonomously takes off, navigates buildings, travels through doors and locates enemies and weapons. 

Elbit Systems said Lanius requires minimal user interaction, and the video shows a human operator watching the drone’s live footage and triggering explosions from a remote device. 

Because of the system’s Electronic Safe and Arm feature, Lanius can only engage with a target if the human-in-the-loop initiates the action.

When searching for targets, Lanius can also operate in “ambush mode” while it observes an area. For example, if it locates a closed door, Lanius can wait until the door opens, which it would recognize, and engage the target if deemed necessary by the human operator. 

Elbit Systems sees Lanius as an option for military, special forces, homeland security and law enforcement missions.


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