Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

The US Army Is Experimenting With Drone Swarms And It's Terrifying


Early on in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, there's a sequence on the war torn streets of Seoul, South Korea, that sees the player attacked by a 'drone swarm'. 

It's terrifying: a great cloud of grey bots move in unison like a school of fish, seeking out a target. You hide behind a car door, incapable of taking out the whole lot by yourself, letting them thunder past.

What's even more unsettling is that the US Army is actually testing the potential of drone swarm technology for combat. 

At present, military drones are usually dirty great plane-sized monsters, used for long reconnaissance flights or armed with deadly payloads. Smaller quadcopters and 'hobbyist' drones are ill-fitted to serve for military uses given their weak structure and short flight range - but a series of experiments by the US Army Test and Evaluation Command is looking to see if cheap, "off the shelf" drones might serve a purpose if they can be controlled in a swarm.


"Right now there's hardly anyone doing swarms, most people are flying one, maybe two, but any time you can get more than one or two in the air at the same time, and control them by waypoint with one laptop, that's important," said James Story, an engineer with the Targets Management Office of the (deep breath) Program Executive Office for Simulation Training and Instrumentation. "You're controlling all five of them, and all five of them are a threat."

The US military is keen to see if they can attach varying payloads to smaller drones - from cameras to bombs - without reducing the flight time. In theory, if a swarm of drones could be controlled by one operator, each carrying a small bomb, it could become hugely difficult for an individual target to defend itself against multiple drones - despite their fragile structure and lack of armour.

"Even if you defeat one or two, if one of them slips past the guard that can pose a problem," said Michael Francis, integrated product team lead for the multirotor targets program.

We'll let you know the latest US military experiments as soon as Call of Duty: Black Ops III arrives on 6 November and gives them new ideas.

[Via: Army.mil]



Russia Is Tweeting Jokes About The Conflict in Syria


Covert Operator: 20 Great Camo Style Essentials


The 20 Weirdest Unsolved Mysteries


The US Military Is Now Testing Robot Dogs In 'Combat' Situations


Could there be a military coup if Jeremy Corbyn Becomes PM?


The Invisibility Cloak Works, Ready In 5 Years



Apple has patented a new laptop chassis which is powered by your phone

Is this the future of laptops?

by Dave Fawbert
27 Mar 2017

Amazon's new Alexa update means it can bring you beer in two hours

"Alexa, we're going to need more booze"

by Matt Tate
21 Mar 2017

This terrifying gadget allows you to make private calls in public

Be like Bane

by Gary Ogden
15 Mar 2017

You'll soon be able to pay for your shopping with your sunglasses

I'm still not happy until I can pay with my underwear

by Gary Ogden
15 Mar 2017

This iPhone case is actually just an entire new Android phone

A phone within a phone

by Gary Ogden
14 Mar 2017

There's a new app for opening bottles because everyone is lazy now

Put that wrist away!

by Gary Ogden
06 Mar 2017

These comments from 2001 about the world's first camera phone are gold

"Take pictures of friendly dogs I see when I walk around""I would use the camera phone to take pictures of my best friend, my dog Benson"

by Gary Ogden
01 Mar 2017

This projector turns anything into a touchscreen

We're living in the future

by Gary Ogden
28 Feb 2017

Everything we know about the new Nokia 3310

The brick is back

by Matt Tate
24 Feb 2017

20 Things You'll Only Understand If You Owned A Nokia 3310

14 Feb 2017