Swarms of Autonomous Attack Drones

Like something out of a dystopian science fiction movie, a team at Georgia Tech and a team at the Naval Postgraduate School have built swarms of aerial drones that are capable of dogfighting each other.

So far, this seems like a “research” project. For example, the drones are not yet equipped to perceive and identify their targets, so each drone just broadcast its GPS coordinates to its opponents, so they would know where to look.

And the drones aren’t shooting real bullets, yet.

But the future of aerial combat is in sight:

Dogfighting tactics have advanced dramatically since the World War I, but the advent of UAV swarms may bring a brand new set of challenges. Unmanned vehicles have freedom to dive, bank, and climb at rates human pilots cannot tolerate. But the real advantage may be in computing power that could track dozens of adversaries — far more than any human pilot could do — and develop new ways to address challenges.

Also, the Navy itself is testing swarms of autonomous vehicles, with governmental acronyms like LOCUST and CICADA. The Navy is primarily building them for purposes of reconnaissance and diversion, or so they say.

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