Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt jumps into AI attack drones space, looks to transform military tech

Away from the media spotlight, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is silently steering his latest project, White Stork, towards the production of AI attack drones in the United States and Ukraine. The startup, shrouded in secrecy through a network of LLCs, is actively working on mass-producing drones with advanced AI capabilities for target identification.

Established officially in August, White Stork operates discreetly under the radar, yet details about its ambitious plans are surfacing. The company aims to develop drones equipped with artificial intelligence for visual targeting, specifically designed to operate seamlessly even in GPS-jammed environments, according to a report by Forbes.

While still in stealth mode, White Stork’s activities have become an open secret within the drone community, with Schmidt personally involved in exploring Ukrainian factories and testing ranges. His engagement extends to outreach with various startups, leveraging his role as a prominent military tech investor.

From Swift Beat to White Stork Group LLC

Delaware business records reveal that White Stork initially operated under the name Swift Beat Holdings before rebranding as White Stork Group LLC in September. Volya Robotics OÜ, a holding company for Swift Beat, identifies Schmidt as its sole beneficial owner.

Schmidt, who led Google until 2011 and later chaired the Department of Defense’s Innovation Board, has a history of involvement in AI and military technology. His commitment to AI-powered combat drones aligns with his previous role as the chair of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence.

Notably, Schmidt has been a vocal advocate for drone technology, particularly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed last July, he emphasised the significance of kamikaze drones, cost-effective aircraft capable of evading traditional defences and providing a strategic advantage on the battlefield.

Having expressed frustration with the slow tech adoption by the US military, Schmidt’s push into the AI-powered drone sector underscores his commitment to advancing technology for defence purposes. As his venture, White Stork, gradually unveils its operations, it is poised to make significant contributions to the evolving landscape of military technology.

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