The British army successfully tested swarms of drones: how this technology will change the war? (Video)

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The British army has just completed testing of their swarm-based drone technology. The main idea is that one operator can control several UAVs at once from one remote control.

A drone is landing on an automated carrier platform. Image credit: The British Army (still image from the YouTube video)

A drone is landing on an automated carrier platform. Image credit: The British Army (still image from the YouTube video)

The tests using a swarm of unmanned aerial vehicles were completed in Salisbury, UK. This information has been announced by the press service of the British army.

Swarming drones have one key advantage: they can be controlled by a single operator at the same time. While acting together as a team, each drone can be entrusted with a separate task of its own, too.

As you can see from the video presented above, new drones are also combined with the automatic launch, landing, and transportation systems. The human presence is minimized, although the functionality for a combined human and drone operation is implemented with the help of specialized software.

During the tests, the military tested two different swarm systems. The first is named Atlas – here, one operator controls four drones using a tablet. To complete individual missions, you need to switch to specific devices. The second system, Elbit, allows a soldier to control up to six UAVs by programming autonomous missions. This means that the entire swarm can concentrate upon a single objective, or each drone can be assigned its individual role.

The British military tested two main scenarios. The first envisages that a swarm of drones will provide round-the-clock protection to the perimeter, observing a certain object and around it. In the second scenario, the military relied on artificial intelligence that links to the UAV’s mission planning system so that it can provide surveillance and inform the operator of any sighted targets, as well as follow them if necessary.

The commander of the infantry test and development unit, Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Doe, said that the swarm technology will enhance the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities of the British army. In the future, they plan to use it to deliver more accurate strikes against the enemy at a great distance.

“This is a significant achievement for the FCG and the Army. We have now proved the concept that one person can fly six drones thus creating a reduction in operator burden. In the future we want one operator to control six, twelve, thirty, forty or more drones as part of a more integrated swarm. As we move further with future Army projects we look to human-machine teaming, which will start to bring in ground elements as well as air elements as a combined system,” commented lead UAS engineer Dominic Ferrett.


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