US military plans collective drones run by one pilot

US military plans collective drones run by one pilot
Sat Mar 29, 2014 15:48:32

The American military is launching a program to unite existing and future drones into hives, where individual autonomous aircraft will share data and operate together against targets on a battlefield – all while being controlled by a single individual.

The Pentagon’s research arm, known as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), recently declared that it will hold a “proposer’s day” on April 11 for its Collaborative Operations in Denied Environments (CODE) program with the objective of expanding the capacity of its assassination drones that will include “autonomy and inter-platform collaboration,” RT reported Saturday.

“Collaborative autonomy has the potential to significantly increase the capabilities of [existing drones] as well as to reduce the cost of future systems by composing heterogeneous teams of [drones] that can leverage the capabilities of each asset without having to duplicate or integrate capabilities into a single platform,” DARPA’s announcement explains.

With CODE, DARPA hopes to develop four “critical technology areas” for its future assassination drones: single-drone mission and flight autonomy; a human-systems interface that enables a “mission commander” to manage a drone fleet and handle “critical inputs” such as telling killer drones to fire weapons; drone-team autonomy that gives a fleet one common intelligence while exploiting the best capabilities and attributes of each “member”; and an “open architecture” that would guide aspects of a squadron, allowing them to pass information between each other and humans.

“Using collaboration algorithms, [drones] can provide services to each other, such as geolocating targets with long-distance sensors and guiding less-capable systems within their sensor range, providing multimodal sensors and diverse observation angles to improve target identification, transmitting critical information through the network...[and] protecting each other by overwhelming defenses and other stratagems.”

The CODE project, according to DARPA, is an effort to ready today’s relatively primitive drones for “dynamic” future conflicts, which the agency believes will be marked by “a higher level of threats, contested electromagnetic spectrum, and re-locatable targets.”

Furthermore, DARPA sees the skies of Afghanistan and Iraq, where US killer drones have operated with almost no risk of counteraction, as child’s play compared to the future where drone technology will surely be more widespread and enemies more “hardened” than the militants that US assassination drones have hunted thus far.

Meanwhile, recent reports further show that DARPA is doubling funding for its fleet of underwater drones, dubbed the Hydra program.

Some of DARPA’s other ongoing projects include inaudible military vehicles, the ATLAS robot, unprecedented facial recognition software, brain-reading technology, the ultimate internet search engine, and, of course, lasers to shoot down multiple enemy drones.


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