Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

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

swarm.jpg

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.

Drone

"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]

Related

Capture.PNG

Russia Is Tweeting Jokes About The Conflict in Syria

camo.PNG

Covert Operator: 20 Great Camo Style Essentials

mask.jpg

The 20 Weirdest Unsolved Mysteries

spot2.JPG

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

tanks.jpg

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

cloak.jpg

The Invisibility Cloak Works, Ready In 5 Years

Comments

More

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

14 Feb 2017

The Nokia 3310 is getting a relaunch (yes, really)

The return of the King

by Gary Ogden
14 Feb 2017

The new iPhone looks like it's going to have wireless charging

A huge move from Apple

by Dave Fawbert
13 Feb 2017

Star Trek fans have a new reason to buy an Amazon Echo

They've done what you all wanted

24 Jan 2017

Watch Steve Jobs launch first iPhone 10 years ago

Today marks 10 years since Steve Jobs presented the world with this iconic product, but it could have been so different

09 Jan 2017

The best gadgets to launch at the biggest tech conference in the world

Christmas 2017 can't come early enough

by Joe Ellison
05 Jan 2017

16 best fitness gadgets to help you get into shape for 2017

Gadgets to get your sweat on with

by David Cornish
03 Jan 2017

An awesome paper cycling helmet wins Dyson design award

Only £4, and it'll save your life

by David Cornish
17 Nov 2016

Netflix finally confirms it's working on downloadable content

It's official, people

by David Cornish
03 Nov 2016

How Android users can now cast Harry Potter spells on their phone

Well this is neat

by David Cornish
02 Nov 2016