Engineering the impossible: The future of military tech

The Oculus VR inventor is now modernizing defense technology.

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Being a global leader in the development of defense technology is vital to both homeland security and military operations abroad. Oftentimes the best offense is a good defense, and while America has long been a front-runner, it still has some catching up to do.

Anduril, co-founded by Palmer Luckey, is working to ensure that the U.S. is on the forefront of military technology. Entrepreneurial success has given Luckey and Anduril the freedom to test the limits of their imaginations without bureaucratic delays. With their team of expert, outside-the-box thinkers, this company is poised to revolutionize the field and in the process, make America safer.  

From VR to Defense Technology

Prior to Anduril, Luckey founded the virtual reality company, Oculus VR, which created state-of-the-art systems and headsets. The company’s groundbreaking advancements in VR garnered quick acclaim and ultimately resulted in Facebook purchasing the company for $2 billion. Mark Zuckerberg remarked, “Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.”

In 2016, Luckey was named one of America’s Richest Entrepreneurs Under 40 by Forbes. The following year, the creative genius turned his sights to disrupting the defense technology sector and began working on his next big project. Thus, Anduril was born.

Luckey saw an opportunity to enter the space when he recognized that the U.S. was beginning to lose its grip as the dominant technology force in the world. He explains, “We have strategic adversaries who are rapidly surpassing us or who have already surpassed us in a lot of areas.”

Anduril’s website echoes that sentiment: “Decades of global stability have allowed our technology advantage to erode while our brightest minds work on problems of convenience and entertainment. In that time, consumer and commercial technology has outpaced the defense industry in both capability and cost.”

The company seeks to reverse that trend and once again solidify America’s position at the forefront of defense technology. To do so, Luckey and his team are creating tech that the government doesn’t believe is possible. More specifically, they’re building tools that help the military compile actionable defense intelligence and make better-informed operational decisions that can save lives on the battlefield. 

Advanced Tech Upgrades Military Operations

Upon completing military service in Afghanistan – flying Blackhawks and managing strategic teams – Kelsee Hober joined Anduril’s team as a mission operations engineer. Of her experience on the battlefield, Hober says, “You never want to be in a position where you have to make a decision and you just don’t have the knowledge available to you.”

Accurate and timely information is critical during military conflict, so Hober and Anduril are working to create solutions that provide quick and seamless intelligence to those who are making life-or-death decisions.

“Our core product,” describes Luckey, “is something we call Lattice. It’s an AI-powered sensor-fusion network that can take data out from hundreds of thousands of different sensors across land, sea, air, and ground, and merge them into a single, common operating picture that all of the people and machines can reference, showing what’s going on not just now, but what’s going to be happening in the future.”

Hober further explains, “Normally, you would have 10 or 15 people looking at all different screens and trying to fuse that information together, but we’re able to fuse those tracks into one user-interface.”

Another one of Anduril’s latest and most promising works is a drone called the Ghost 4. The Ghost 4 is a battery-powered, virtually silent drone built with advanced aerodynamic principles. Its capabilities include laser-striking enemy sensors and relaying targeting intelligence after detecting approaching cruise missiles.

The Ghost 4 is able to operate within the Lattice network along with Anduril’s sentry towers to increase awareness in remote locations. This collaborative effort allows the ability to alert a base quicker of imminent danger, and gives military operations the ability to fully function within formerly unnavigable zones. 

Reimagining Defense Technology

With Anduril’s innovative solutions, Luckey has found a way to use advanced tech for good. Oftentimes defense technology companies must rely on funding from government or outside agencies, but Anduril has no such limits. Its team is free to move quickly through the experimentation and construction of new products.

“Some of the products that we build go from the first napkin sketch to real deployments in literally a matter of weeks,” Luckey describes. He’s designed Anduril in such a way because he believes that modernizing our national security strategy is an urgent priority.

With both the capital and imaginative freedom under which Anduril operates, advancements like the Ghost 4 and Lattice network seem to be just the beginning for Luckey’s reimagining of the defense technology space.

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