By W.J. Hennigan
August 8, 2012, 1:30 p.m.
LAS VEGAS — Engineers at Boeing Co. and Johns Hopkins University have devised technology that enables drones to function like a swarm of insects that can communicate and carry out tasks together in mid-flight.
Two small ScanEagle drones, made by Boeing subsidiary Insitu Inc., autonomously conducted searches and communicated information to one another, Boeing said.
The team conducted flight tests in Oregon for several days in June and demonstrated that an operator on the ground, using only a laptop and a military radio, can coordinate the drone “swarm” to carry out a mission.
“This swarm technology may one day enable warfighters in battle to request and receive [drones] much sooner than they can from ground control stations today,” Gabriel Santander, Boeing’s program director of advanced autonomous networks, said in a statement. “Swarm network technology has the potential to offer more missions at less risk and lower operating costs.”
Boeing revealed the progress on swarm technology at this week’s Assn. for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International trade show, where hundreds of robot makers have gathered to show off their wares.
Boeing and Johns Hopkins did not provide video of how the swarm worked.
The University of Pennsylvania has also tested drone “swarm” technology and it has posted video. Watch in the footage below as the hand-held sized drones fly various formations, in and out of windows, and even in a figure-eight pattern.
Keeping us safe? From what? My only danger is to be anywhere near such miscreant hostility, who march to the tune of bombs bursting in air.
As a counter measure, when can ‘we the people’ start purchasing these to defend ourselves against their swarming technology?
Leave it to the brutish minds of belligerent bi-peds to dream up such nightmares and then brag about it. This is another reason why demented imbeciles should not be given matches to play with. What a strange planet we live on!
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