Tech’s Most Controversial Startup Makes Drone-Killing Robots

Tech’s Most Controversial Startup Makes Drone-Killing Robots


This is the Interceptor. It’s the creation of Palmer Luckey, who might be the world’s
most unlikely weapons mogul. He’s the founder of a multibillion dollar, virtual reality company. He’s also a polarizing
figure in Silicon Valley. My name is Palmer Luckey, and
I’m the founder of Anduril. I wanna build a big company. I wanna build a company that’s
worth billions of dollars. I wanna become one of the
major defense contractors, that’s building technology for
the United States government. And I’m proud to say that,
I’m happy to say that, and I hope we get there. At his previous company, the virtual reality
headset maker, Oculus Rift, Luckey had the idea to build
a futuristic consumer device, combining low cost components
with sophisticated software. He sold Oculus to Facebook
for about $2 billion in 2014. Two years later, just a month before the
2016 presidential election, The Daily Beast reported
he’d given $10,000 to a group of Trump supporters, to fund billboards
featuring insulting messages about Hillary Clinton. In 2017, Facebook announced that Luckey was no longer an employee. I was fired. We can all be honest about it. It became the rare HR decision to make it into a congressional hearing. CEO, have you ever made hiring or firing decisions based
on political positions, or what candidates they supported? No Why was Palmer Luckey fired? That is a specific personnel matter that seems like it would
be inappropriate to speak– You just made a specific representation that you didn’t make decisions
based on political views. Is that accurate?
Well, I can commit that it was not because
of a political view. Anduril has followed
Luckey’s Oculus playbook, using off-the-shelf components, in an industry much more
suited to his politics. Over the course of a few
months, earlier this year, the company built a cheap
version of its drone, made a smartphone video, and started showing it to
people at the Pentagon. It’s a little crazy, but I think that is definitely
the way that it’s going. I mean, all these other
systems, like, where they, there are people who
propose shooting drones out of the sky with a
laser, or with a missile, or you know, that’s not
really a good way to take out, let’s say, a hundred drones that are attacking you from
all different directions. The only thing that can take
out a swarm of fast drones, is a bigger swarm of faster drones, and that’s exactly what we’re building. Here’s some Interceptors. This one has a experimental
parachute release mechanism. So that the idea is, after
it runs into something, if it really destroys it drive train, rather than falling to the ground, it can pop a parachute and
fall to the ground safely. Pops this thing, pops open,
and there’s the parachute. I think that’s one of the reasons that our customers like us so much. I mean, they’re used to going
to people who have like, here’s this white paper. Here’s this idea that we have. We want you to pay us by the hour, so that we can research it, and figure out if it makes sense. And if it does, you’ll pay
us by the hour to make it. And then, if it doesn’t, you’ll
pay us until it does work. And we’re going to them and saying “We do this ourselves,
we used our own money, “we got it done in a matter
of weeks, and here it is.” Anduril has shipped several hundred Interceptors
to military bases. It also has contracts with the US Customs and
Border Protection agency, to provide surveillance equipment to use at the border with Mexico. Workers at other tech companies, such as Google, Microsoft,
Amazon, and Palantir, have all objected to doing similar work, leading to protests by the
employees and activists. Luckey insists that Anduril’s
work isn’t partisan. There’s a lot of people who, I think, falsely conflate border security with immigration policy. And, I don’t care what you
believe on immigration policy, even if you want to have
totally open immigration. Anyone can come into the United States and instantly become a citizen. You should still want to
have strong border security. The company’s surveillance technology consists of large towers,
packed with sensors, and small surveillance drones
that can be set up along the border, or at military
bases, to guard the perimeter. So, this is one of our sentry towers, it is a totally autonomous,
solar powered infrastructure, independent security tower. So, by placing these
towers every few miles, you can end up with a
nearly perfect picture of everything that’s going
on in a really large area. And then that is very easy
for an operator to read. These are being used right now by the DOD, by the Department of Homeland Security, along military bases, the border, and a lot of other
critical infrastructure. Anduril’s future success relies largely on the military’s continued concern that the US could lose
to China in an arms race based on artificial intelligence. Our technology is far behind the consumer area in many places. And we’re also far behind our adversaries in a lot of places. People should be more
worried than they are, about falling behind, ’cause it’s not something
that’s gonna happen someday. It’s already happened. Critics say, technologists, like Luckey, have an ethical duty to stay
out of the weapons business. But neither the military,
nor Anduril’s investors share their concerns. The company recently raised a
$120 million investment round, valuing it at about $1 billion.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

100 Comments

  1. This guy is a little creepy but I'll be honest I think thats fucking great I want one of those drones and I want one of those towers lol

  2. This just proves anyone can make it in America. You just need an opportunity and an idea everyone else is dumb enough to believe.

  3. China is the US main threat (military, trade and tech), yet the Mexico border become the main concern for Trump. China is the problem not Mexico, if Thrump constantly kick its neighbor, the Mexico will be partner with China.

  4. I disagree with his idea that a bigger swarm of faster drones is the ONLY way to defend against them. A swarm of bullets can get the job done quickly as well. I'm thinking a modified phalanx type of system.

  5. notice how the national socialist right winglers want to control who can be fired from private companies, just like the Left.

  6. I'm 50/50 with this dude. Cool ideas with tech but i feel like he'd definently go berserk and add miniguns to these drones and kill everyone

  7. अपनी मानसिकता को बचाए रखना, शैतान कम्युनिस्ट चीन खुद जलालत व कट्टरता से अपने देश में राज चलाता है और बेगैरत अमेरिकी लेफ्टिस्ट हरामियों को पैसा दे कर सारे गैरकानूनी लोगों का समर्थन करता है।

  8. “We should be worried about falling behind “ is just like the commonly believed idea in modern china”落后就要挨打“(”who falls behind get beaten up”).

  9. Comment Section: Woah this guy looks cooler.

    Comment Section after finding out he is a Trump supporter: Woah this guy looks like Syndrome from the Incredibles. He’s probably extremely evil and biased.

    Y’all need to buy a fucking mirror. The sooner the better. 😆

  10. A swarm of drones versus a thousand explosive pellets shot spread across the sky. Every drone will crash. Were still behind China.

  11. I’ll just make a drone built out of Wolverine’s adamantium. His tech can’t work against that! 😉👍👍👍

  12. Austerity measures have destroyed innovation in this country. Capital has been inefficiently allocated due to market failures and negative externalities that have gone unchecked for decades.

  13. He looks like a guy u wanna punch, I understand why he likes Trump, Im prolly sure he doesnt "believe" in climate change.

  14. The left is all about group think and send the thought police on anyone who does not follow the borg.
    They are not about liberry and freedom
    Glad he left the NAZIs at Google

  15. This makes me want to make a faster drone to destroy government drones I want to be able to do whatever I want with my drones

  16. This is all really cool. It's also how we get SkyNet, but it's still really cool.

    (I, for one, salute our future robotic overlords)

  17. now, I'm not the brightest guy but I'm pretty sure lasers beat drones in every situation. unless its one laser and a swarm of drones

  18. Why does he look like the guy who would sell all of the us military with weapons and then control those drones to take over the whole grid from USA???? RIGHT?

  19. Well gentlemen, it was nice meeting you all, now once AI is fully autonomous, it will just fly the drones and kill everybody, a Dieu mes amies!

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