Swarm drones may cut military costs, risks

August 13th, 2012 - 6:50 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 13 (IANS) Engineers have come up with a technology that permits drones to act like a ’swarm of insects’ and carry out tasks in mid-air.

In June, engineers and researchers from Johns Hopkins University tested their technology on two ScanEagle drones in Oregon, US, Boeing revealed.

The drone development could cut costs and risk in military welfare, Boeing said. Using just a military radio and a laptop, an operator on the ground was able to connect with the autonomous drones instructing them to carry out a mission simultaneously, the Daily Mail reports.

“This swarm technology may one day enable combatants in battle to request and receive time-critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information directly from unmanned aerial vehicles much sooner than they can from ground control stations today,” Gabriel Santander, Boeing’s programme director of advanced autonomous networks, said.

“Swarm network technology has the potential to offer more missions at less risk and lower operating costs,” Santander said.

Boeing revealed the ’swarm’ technology at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International trade show, where robot makers gather to show off their wares.

University of Pennsylvania GRASP Lab have also tested drone ’swarm’ technology recently, showing off a network of 20 nano quadrotors flying in synchronized formations.

The goal is to combine swarm technology with bio-inspired drones to operate “with little or no direct human supervision” in “dynamic, resource-constrained, adversarial environments”, the university said.

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