A Ukrainian startup says it’s on the brink of revolutionizing warfare with an AI-driven drone swarm capable of coordinated attacks on enemy tanks and intelligence gathering, potentially giving Ukraine a significant advantage in its war with Russia, as per The Times’ report.

“It’s the equivalent of bringing the steam engine into the factory all those years ago,” said Serhii Kuprienko, the founder of the startup. “Our core mission is to get robots to do the fighting, not humans.”

These drones can communicate with each other, make decisions on where to attack, and gather intelligence “faster than any human could,” Kuprienko said.

The Times reported that before the full-scale war, Ukraine had around 20 military tech companies; now, there are 200. Many are focused on drone technology, which is expected to redefine future warfare.

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Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation, Alex Bornyakov, said that Ukraine has heavily invested in drones because of the disparity in human resources compared to Russia. “They [Russians] fight, they die, they send more people—they don’t care. But that’s not how we see war.”

Bornyakov said that Ukraine is testing swarm technology with at least one company besides Krupiienko’s. He said that while the drones are capable of operating autonomously, human confirmation is required for targeting to ensure ethical and safety standards are met.

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“Technically, they [the drones] could do it by themselves,” he added.

Kuprienko said that his drones could be programmed to recognize and shoot based on uniforms. However, he said, “We don’t allow it ethically and for safety purposes.”

American expert Singer suggests that Ukraine may have already used AI to autonomously destroy targets. He mentions a sophisticated American drone system that identifies enemy vehicles, even if camouflaged, and coordinates automatic strikes.

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Singer recalled politicians assuring that this was a line they would never cross but added that it has now been crossed with little controversy.

The ethical debate over autonomous weapons continues among military experts, lawyers, and ethicists, as outlined in the report. Kuprienko repeats the official stance that a human commander must approve each attack. However, he concedes that some commanders might prefer full autonomy to maximize the swarm's effectiveness, adding “We’re fighting a war here, and we want to win.”

Like Bornyakov, he envisions a “kill box”—an area containing only enemy targets—where a swarm could operate independently.

As Ukraine pushes the boundaries of military technology, the world watches closely, aware that this innovation could reshape the landscape of modern warfare.

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