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US Air Force will need 'years' to analyze its drone footage

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The US Air Force secretary says it will be "years" before analysts have reviewed all the footage collected by automated drones.

3d printed drone wing
3d printed drone wing

Drones have freed US pilots from running surveillance missions, but the footage they collect still has to be watched by human analysts to determine its importance. And, unfortunately for them, it's turned out to be nearly impossible to keep up. Michael Donley, the secretary of the Air Force, says it will be "years" before they've finally worked through current videos and photographs. It's a problem that's been going on for years already — in 2010, one general estimated that it would take 2,000 analysts to go through the information collected by a single Predator drone. Over at Wired, Spencer Ackerman details how the military is using everything from drone cutbacks to automated software in order to bring footage to a manageable level, and why catching up "isn’t as simple as clearing a DVR cache."