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US military tests swarm of mini-drones launched from jets

Divine.Wind

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This is really cool tech. The "distributed brain" concept is fascinating. These things don't run into each other, as the video of them orbiting the target proves. It's amazing where the tech is going these days.

US military tests swarm of mini-drones launched from jets - BBC News
The US military has launched 103 miniature swarming drones from a fighter jet during a test in California.

Three F/A-18 Super Hornets were used to release the Perdix drones last October.

The drones, which have a wingspan of 12in (30cm), operate autonomously and share a distributed brain.

A military analyst said the devices, able to dodge air defence systems, were likely to be used for surveillance.

Video footage of the test was published online by the Department of Defense.

"Perdix are not pre-programmed synchronised individuals, they are a collective organism, sharing one distributed brain for decision-making and adapting to each other like swarms in nature," said William Roper, director of the Strategic Capabilities Office.

"Because every Perdix communicates and collaborates with every other Perdix, the swarm has no leader and can gracefully adapt to drones entering or exiting the team."

The drones were originally designed by engineering students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and were first modified for military testing in 2013.

"When looking at how you deal with air defence systems that are optimised to spot very large, fast-moving aircraft, small, cheap disposable drones seem to be one solution," said Elizabeth Quintana, at the Royal United Services Institute, a military think tank.

She added that the system would probably be used for surveillance purposes in the near term.

In May, the US Navy tested a system that could launch drones into the sky for rapid deployment.

Asian competition
And late last year, the Chinese also demonstrated a swarm of larger, fixed-wing drones.

Ms Quintana pointed out that China had significant resources both in electronics and drone-manufacturing.

The world's best-selling consumer drones are made by DJI, a Chinese company.

"They have a tremendous amount of expertise in the country," she told the BBC.

"It's going to be very interesting - it won't just be about who has the biggest swarm but also about who can out-manoeuvre who."
 
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Divine.Wind

Divine.Wind

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Another article on the tech of the Perdix drones: Watch a swarm of 100 drones being dropped from fighter jets

What’s small, fast, and is launched from the bottom of a fighter jet? Not missiles, but a swarm of drones.

U.S. military officials have announced that they’ve carried out their largest ever test of a drone swarm released from fighter jets in flight. In the trials, three F/A-18 Super Hornets released 103 Perdix drones, which then communicated with each other and went about performing a series of formation flying exercises that mimic a surveillance mission.

But the swarm doesn’t know how, exactly, it will perform the task before it’s released. As William Roper of the Department of Defense explained in a statement:

Perdix are not pre-programmed synchronized individuals, they are a collective organism, sharing one distributed brain for decision-making and adapting to each other like swarms in nature. Because every Perdix communicates and collaborates with every other Perdix, the swarm has no leader and can gracefully adapt to drones entering or exiting the team.
Releasing drones from a fast-moving jet isn’t straightforward, as high speeds and turbulence buffet them, causing them damage. But the Perdix drone, originally developed by MIT researchers and named after a Greek mythical character who was turned into a partridge, is now in its sixth iteration and able to withstand speeds of Mach 0.6 and temperatures of -10 °C during release.

A Washington Post report last year explained that they had been developed as part of a $20 million Pentagon program to augment the current fleet of military drones. It’s hoped that the small aircraft, which weigh around a pound each and are relatively inexpensive because they’re made from off-the-shelf components, could be dropped by jets to perform missions that would usually require much larger drones, like the Reaper.

Clearly, they’re well on the way to being that useful. Now the Pentagon is working with its own Silicon Valley-style innovation organization, the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, to build fleets of the micro-drones.

(Read more: The Washington Post, “The Pentagon’s Innovation Experiment”)
 

jon_berzerk

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This is really cool tech. The "distributed brain" concept is fascinating. These things don't run into each other, as the video of them orbiting the target proves. It's amazing where the tech is going these days.

US military tests swarm of mini-drones launched from jets - BBC News
The US military has launched 103 miniature swarming drones from a fighter jet during a test in California.

Three F/A-18 Super Hornets were used to release the Perdix drones last October.

The drones, which have a wingspan of 12in (30cm), operate autonomously and share a distributed brain.

A military analyst said the devices, able to dodge air defence systems, were likely to be used for surveillance.

Video footage of the test was published online by the Department of Defense.

"Perdix are not pre-programmed synchronised individuals, they are a collective organism, sharing one distributed brain for decision-making and adapting to each other like swarms in nature," said William Roper, director of the Strategic Capabilities Office.

"Because every Perdix communicates and collaborates with every other Perdix, the swarm has no leader and can gracefully adapt to drones entering or exiting the team."

The drones were originally designed by engineering students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and were first modified for military testing in 2013.

"When looking at how you deal with air defence systems that are optimised to spot very large, fast-moving aircraft, small, cheap disposable drones seem to be one solution," said Elizabeth Quintana, at the Royal United Services Institute, a military think tank.

She added that the system would probably be used for surveillance purposes in the near term.

In May, the US Navy tested a system that could launch drones into the sky for rapid deployment.

Asian competition
And late last year, the Chinese also demonstrated a swarm of larger, fixed-wing drones.

Ms Quintana pointed out that China had significant resources both in electronics and drone-manufacturing.

The world's best-selling consumer drones are made by DJI, a Chinese company.

"They have a tremendous amount of expertise in the country," she told the BBC.

"It's going to be very interesting - it won't just be about who has the biggest swarm but also about who can out-manoeuvre who."


some day they will be equipped with powerful laser beams

imagine a swarm of them getting into an enemy encampment

--LOL
 
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Divine.Wind

Divine.Wind

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U.S. demonstrate swarming Perdix micro-drones | Aviation Analysis Wing
PERDIX-swarming-micro-drone.jpg


 
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Divine.Wind

Divine.Wind

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I understand the communal brain part, but doesn't that brain have to give them directions. What leads them? Does each drone send info back, and how do they keep from running into each other?
It's well above my comfort zone of expertise, but yes, they communicate with each other. So much, in fact, that they can exchange enough signals to coordinate their movements.

While this "distributed brain" application is geared for military usage, probably primarily reconnaissance at first, it's civilian applications are only limited by the imagination. Off hand I think search and rescue would be a first start.
 

waltky

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Yeah...

... that was a story on CBS...

... by correspondent David Martin.
 

Shrimpbox

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So we're the tank killers a demonstration of hive mentality? Looked like they operated individually. I can't seem to wrap my mind around the hive mission. Something has to tell them to go left right, at a minimum they have to have a mission program as well as collision avoidance. A command to go from point a to b. Or even a command to stay together.
 

waltky

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Is like dem birds dat fly inna flock...

... dey can change direction...

... w/o runnin' into each other.
 
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Divine.Wind

Divine.Wind

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So we're the tank killers a demonstration of hive mentality? Looked like they operated individually. I can't seem to wrap my mind around the hive mission. Something has to tell them to go left right, at a minimum they have to have a mission program as well as collision avoidance. A command to go from point a to b. Or even a command to stay together.
The tank killer video is of the CBU-105 cluster bomb. The bomblets use infrared seekers to find their targets and there is no coordination between the bomblets.

CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapon : USAF’s Ultimate Tank-buster
321px-CBU-97_SFW_%288steps_attacking_process%29_NT.PNG
 

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