According to a report published on Thursday, China has declassified its new unmanned underwater AI drone designed specifically to target “enemy” submarines.
The project to build such a drone dates back to the 1990s, and its details were revealed last week in an academic paper.
The drone was test-fired in Taiwan Strait without human input a decade ago, reported daily South China Morning Post, adding the drone “could detect a mock craft, use artificial intelligence to identify its origin, and hit it with a torpedo.”
According to the report, the project is funded by China’s People’s Liberation Army.
“It is unclear why China has now declassified details of the test, but the tension over the Taiwan Strait has recently escalated to its highest point in decades,” the report noted.
Tensions in the Taiwan Strait have risen exponentially, owing primarily to the administration of former US President Donald Trump.
Western allies have increased their engagements with Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a provocation.
“These robotic drones are now working mostly individually, but with technological upgrades could patrol in packs,”Professor Liang Guolong of Harbin Engineering University, China’s top submarine research institute, made the statement.
Specifics suggest the unmanned drone can patrol “about 10 meters (over 32 feet) below the surface following a predetermined route.”
“The needs of future underwater warfare bring new development opportunities for unmanned platforms,”according to the researchers’ paper, which was published last Friday in the Journal of Harbin Engineering University.