Secretive Startup Tests AI Drones in Ukraine

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt's Stealth Venture Accelerates Development

In a clandestine operation, billionaire technologist Eric Schmidt has been testing -guided drones through his secretive startup, Project Eagle, formerly known as White Stork. The venture, based in Menlo Park, , has been recruiting top talent from companies like Apple, SpaceX, and Google to develop its cutting-edge technology.

Sources familiar with the matter revealed that Project Eagle has been collaborating with the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense to test drone prototypes on the frontlines of the ongoing conflict. Schmidt, who has been a vocal supporter of 's defense efforts, has traveled to the country to witness drone warfare firsthand, reports Forbes.

Notable Hires and Advisors Aid Development

Project Eagle's rapid development has been fueled by a series of strategic hires, including machine learning experts, aerospace engineers, and supply chain specialists. Among the notable additions are Hendrik Dahlkamp, a former Apple machine learning manager, and Sebastian Thrun, creator of Google's moonshot lab X, who serves as an advisor to the project.

The startup has also been actively recruiting at universities and AI hackathons, with Schmidt personally hosting some of these events. The expanding employee roster includes former executives from Google, SpaceX, and the federal government.

Obfuscated Operations and Multiple LLCs

Despite Schmidt's public visits to Kyiv, Project Eagle has strived to maintain a low profile. The venture's operations are obscured by a constellation of LLCs and associated companies, such as Merops, Aurelian Industries, Swift Beat, and Volya Robotics.

Domain name records show that the startup rebranded itself as “Project Eagle” shortly after Forbes revealed its initial plans under the name “White Stork.” The name change and the use of multiple LLCs have made it challenging to track the venture's activities.

Schmidt's Vision for the Future of Warfare

Since 's invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Schmidt has positioned himself as a pundit on the conflict, writing several prominent op-eds about the country's battle strategies and the emergence of “networked war.” He has predicted that AI-empowered kamikaze drones will revolutionize warfare, collaborating to strike targets past enemy countermeasures.

However, witnessing the brutality of the Ukrainian frontline has tempered Schmidt's initial enthusiasm. In a recent op-ed, he acknowledged the “in-the-mud reality” of the conflict, quoting Nietzsche's words: “And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”

DroneXL's Take

The development of AI-guided drones by Eric Schmidt's secretive startup, Project Eagle, highlights the increasing role of advanced technology in modern warfare. As the conflict in Ukraine continues, the testing of these drones on the frontlines raises important questions about the future of combat and the ethical implications of using AI in military operations.

While the potential for AI-powered drones to revolutionize warfare is significant, it is crucial to consider the broader impact of these technologies on human lives and the nature of conflict itself. As the continues to evolve, it is essential to engage in open discussions about the responsible development and deployment of these powerful tools.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

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