Drones join forces in swarm test

Boeing has successfuly tested out its swarm technology that lets unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) of different types to communicate and work together

Boeing has conducted a successful test of swarm technology designed to allow unmanned aerial vehicles of different types to communicate and work together

ScanEagle launch, credit: Marion Doss

A pneumatic catapult is used to launch an Insitu ScanEagle drone. Credit: Marion Doss, Flickr under CC BY-SA 2.0

The demonstration in July used two ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) manufactured by Boeing subsidiary Insitu, and a Procerus Unicorn from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL), the company said on Thursday. Using the swarm technology, the UAVs were able to search a test area, generating their own waypoints and mapping the terrain they flew over, while sending the information to teams on the ground.

"This is a milestone in UAV flight," said Gabriel Santander, Boeing advanced autonomous networks program director and team leader. "The test team proved that these unmanned aircraft can collect and use data while communicating with each other to support a unified mission. This swarm technology may one day be used for search-and-rescue missions or identifying enemy threats ahead of ground patrols."

For more on this ZDNet UK-selected story, see UAVs adopt autonomous swarming ability on ZDNet Australia.

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