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Pentagon Successfully Tests Autonomous Swarm of Micro-Drones

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The Pentagon has announced successful testing of a swarm of “micro-drones.”

F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets loosed a writhing swarm of 103 Perdix micro-drones, which “demonstrated advanced swarm behaviors such as collective decision-making, adaptive formation flying and self-healing.”

The drones aren’t individuals, independently synchronized, but “a collective organism, sharing one distributed brain for decision-making and adapting to each other like swarms in nature.” Their activity most resembles swarms of insects, schools of fish, or flocks of birds.

According to Director of the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office William Roper, “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.”

This project is the brainchild of Defense Secretary Ash Carter, the former Harvard professor who founded the Strategic Capabilities Office in 2012. The SCO’s goal is to use this and other emergent technologies to ride the cutting edge into the future of U.S. warfare.

The drones themselves have undergone steady evolution since their original design in 2013 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by a team of engineering students.

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