The UK military is developing a drone armed with a shotgun which can fly indoors and identify targets using artificial intelligence.
The unmanned aerial system, which has six rotors and is about a metre long, will be deployed in urban conflicts.
Commanders predict more battles will be fought in densely populated cities, posing an additional risk to armed forces personnel, and they believe these drones could be crucial in giving them an edge.
It is the UK military's first weaponised drone to be able to fly inside, using a combination of physics and AI which allows it to overcome "wall suck", which causes drones with heavy burdens to crash because of the way they displace air in small rooms.
It will be fixed with twin stabilised shotguns and is also expected to undergo trials with other weapons including weapons and chain guns.
A camera and "machine vision" which is similar to the technology used in driverless cars to identify people and objects are also attached to the drone.
It uses AI to work out how to stay upright and stable as well as assisting it with line up targets, but it cannot shoot by itself.
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A soldier uses a live feed on a screen to decide whether to open fire.
The prototype, which troops have already begun testing, has been called the i9.
It is hoped the drone will make the "breach" phase of a mission, when troops enter a compound or building, safer by flying ahead and taking out any enemies inside.
In Afghanistan the army suffered significant casualties when entering buildings barricaded by armed combatants.
An unnamed Brit company has developed the i9 in partnership with Strategic Command.
The Ministry of Defence is talking to the wider industry about creating a new generation of drones based on the i9.
It is also boosting its counter-drone capabilities, which include an aerial "battering ram" designed to knock drones out of the sky.
Air Marshal Richard Knighton told the public accounts committee that the RAF was developing autonomous aircraft to work alongside Typhoon and F-35 fighters.
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