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DARPA Program Aims to Help Urban Troops Manage Unmanned System Swarms

droneThe Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has launched a program that seeks to help small-unit ground combat forces to control multiple unmanned air and ground vehicles.

DARPA said Wednesday it aims to develop and demonstrate more than 100 swarm tactics that could be applied by groups of unmanned air or ground systems with more than 100 robots through the OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics initiative.

“We aim to provide the tools to quickly generate swarm tactics, evaluate those swarm tactics for effectiveness, and integrate the best swarm tactics into field operations,” said Timothy Chung, a DARPA program manager.

Chung added OFFSET could potentially develop battlefield functions such as distributed perception, resilient communications, adaptive collective behaviors and dispersed computing and analytics.

OFFSET will offer engagement opportunities and share swarm tactics with anticipated U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps end-users.

The program calls for the development of a human-swarm interface that will work to monitor and manage swarms of unmanned platforms in real time as well as a networked virtual environment that will support a swarm tactics game where players could explore, evolve and evaluate swarm tactics.

DARPA also seeks to establish a community-driven program portal where participants can design swarm tactics and combine collective behaviors through the initiative.

The agency will host an event on Jan. 30, 2017 in Arlington, Virginia to discuss OFFSET and answer questions from potential proposers.

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