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Phantom Ray, unmanned and autonomous

The Boeing logo on the company's corporate world headquarters building in Chicago, Ill.

Boeing recently unveiled it's new military plane, the Phantom Ray. It's 36 feet long and has a 50 foot wingspan. But no pilot. It's an unmanned vehicle, controlled by an operator positioned on the ground, working at a computer that doesn't look all that different than the one you're reading this on right now. Craig Brown, the program director on the project, tells us that the Phantom Ray is designed to operate more autonomously than other unmanned aircraft currently in use by the military so the role of the person on the ground is not so much "pilot" as "supervisor".

Curiously, Boeing financed the construction of the Phantom Ray itself with no orders for the plane from the US government.

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