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Department Of Defense Tests Swarm Of 3D-Printed Micro-Drones Called Perdix

11 January 2017, 2:00 pm EST By Chris Loterina Tech Times
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The U.S. Department of Defense announced a successful demonstration of its semi-automated Perdix drones, which function as a collective organism. A swarm of these devices is considered the biggest thing since the nuclear bomb.   ( 60 Minutes | CBSNews )

The U.S. Department of Defense has already tested a revolutionary weapon that is being touted as the biggest thing since the nuclear bomb. This involves a swarm of drones that has a single brain for collective decision-making and complemented by self-healing capabilities.

The test was conducted at China Lake, California last October 2016 but it was only revealed by the DoD last Jan. 9 in a press release.

It was also documented by CBS' 60 Minutes.

The entire affair was quite impressive as it involved 103 Perdix drones launched from three F/A-18 Super Hornets. According to DoD, it is one of the world's largest micro-drone swarm to date.

"Due to the complex nature of combat, 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," William Roper, Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) Director, said. "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."

Watch the actual footage of the exercise in the video below:

Perdix Drone Technology

The Perdix drone was developed by a group of MIT students and was further modified by DoD's SCO in partnership with the Naval Air Systems Command. The drones on display last October is already the sixth generation and are already considered reliable under potential deployment conditions.

Each Perdix drone is 3-D printed and costs cheap. The nature of its manufacture and functions make it a strategic weapon and tool of war.

A Perdix swarm can be given different tasks such as scouting or serving as a decoy and would perform them with very little human intervention. They can execute their mission as a collective organism setting it apart from commercial drone fleets. They communicate and adapt to each other in the same way swarms found in nature behave.

Perdix Swarm In Actual Deployment

The Perdix drones were already used in military exercises in Alaska in 2015. The technology was able to display how it is able to complete tasks without risking the lives of human pilots.

Aside from its role in reconnaissance, some observers also expect that the automated drones could ultimately carry weapons. Once outfitted with smaller technology, they can collectively overwhelm a target. They could also obliterate military installations when used to deploy bombs.

DoD underscored that the Perdix drones are only part of its automated technologies that constitute America's so-called future battle network. The agency hinted that Perdix and other technologies in this stable could display fully automated capabilities, which means they can select and fire at targets on their own.

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