Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency have conducted a test flight to demonstrate the capacity of drone swarms to support combat operations in urban settings.
Johns Hopkins APL said Thursday that the team partly built on its â€œaerobatic control and collaboration for improved performance in tactical evasion and reconnaissanceâ€ concept from prior independent research and development work as part of Sprint 4 of the OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics demonstration.
The lab used virtual unmanned aerial vehicles during the firstÂ six-month phase of the sprint before testing physical fixed-wing aircraft in virtual mesh environments from DARPAâ€™s urban testing activities.
In August 2020, the team conducted the drone-swarm flight test at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.
Joseph Moore, project manager of the research and exploratory development department team at APL, said the teamâ€™s goal is to control high-speed UAVs in urban outdoor settings without causing too much damage.
DARPA envisions the OFFSET program to enable a maximum of 250 autonomous systems to operate as a swarm to support ground troops in dense urban environments.