Swarm robots poised to fly amid acquisitions and military investment

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Summary: The military is going miniature, and that means big investments in small flying machines that will eventually operate in swarms.

An updated version of a battle-tested nano-UAV stole the show at an annual trial of military gadgets at Fort Benning, Georgia, last month. Tech readers may be nearing peak-UAV, but this autonomous bug-like vehicle is worth paying attention to.

The PD-100 Black Hornet, manufactured by Prox Dynamics, is an air vehicle about the size of a man’s finger. The UAV weighs 18 grams and now contains day and night-vision cameras that send still images or video back to an operator via a data-link. Designed for reconnaissance, the vehicle is incapable of attack or defense. But its size and ability to fly autonomously or semi-autonomously make it a clear precursor to the next generation of swarm robots. Welcome to the future of warfare. Continue reading