London: The US Navy is testing a stealth drone set to be the world`s first unmanned, robot aircraft piloted by artificial intelligence rather than a remote human operator.
In case the futuristic killer drone completes all its sea trials then it will be first aircraft capable of autonomously landing onto an aircraft carrier.
The X-47B drone is designed to take off, fly a pre-programmed mission then return to base in response to a few mouse clicks from its operator, the `Daily Mail` reported.
Regarded as the US military`s latest robot weapon, the aircraft comes amid fears that the handing over of warfare to artificial intelligence could lead to disastrous unforeseen consequences.
The difference between the X-47B and a manned drone is that it will not be driven movement by movement by a remote - like a remote control car.
Instead, it will be controlled by a forearm-mounted box called the Control Display Unit which can independently 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, and it will fly there using technology such as Global Positioning System (GPS), autopilot and collision avoidance sensors.
Contractors hoisted the test prototype of the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System on to the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman in preparation for its first carrier-based testing.
A team from the US Navy`s Unmanned Combat Air System program office also embarked on the carrier to oversee the tests and demonstrations.
It is hoped that the X-47B, which boasts a wingspan of more than 62 feet, will demonstrate seamless integration into carrier flight deck operations through various tests.
The size of a jet fighter, yet without a tail fin, the stealth drone is produced by Northrop Grumman, which also produces the similar, except larger and manned, B-2 Stealth Bomber, the report said.
The aircraft caused a stir over the summer when it was mistaken for a genuine UFO as it was transported through Washington DC on its way for tests at a navy airbase.
It is not yet clear whether the drone will be able to open fire without explicit authorisation from its controller.