While they may not be considered a lynch-pin of the cyberpunk genre, it’s hard to talk about modern warfare and not mention Drones. Already, we see civilian drones being tested for various uses such as package and taco delivery. (http://tacocopter.com/)
Drones, in an Operator sense, are remote operated surveillance and weapon platforms. Drone pilots use a direct neural interface, or DNI, to route data from the ubiquitous Datasea wireless connection through their Angel and into the interface to achieve the same effect as a Frame pilot; seamless integration of thought and action. Drone Operators can function from hundreds of kilometers away from their target as long as they can maintain connectivity.
Most drones come equipped with a Dumb-Co, an AI pilot that can follow orders and act autonomously when the pilot is distracted with real-world problems. Yes, modern drones can be operated by other drones. Don’t expect much mileage from these AIs, there’s a reason they are called Dumb-Cos.
A variety of different drone models are available for use, such as heavily armed and armored tracked drones, light-weight hover drones, and miniature, thermoptically-camouflaged spider drones.
While Frames and Drones share a DNI, the major difference is hackability. Frames are designed to only accept input from the DNI of the pilot in order to prevent a hacker from interfering with control of the unit. Drones, on the other hand, rely heavily on wireless communication, which makes them vulnerable to malicious interference.
A hacker still needs to find the correct DataStream and hack into the drone to interfere. This can lead to some erratic behavior as pilots fight maintain control, but there’s always the chance that your heavily armed attack drone could end up shooting at you instead of your enemy. For this reason, a good Drone Operator tends to know their way around the Datasea and a few security tricks.