Think of multiple drones operating like a swarm of insects – working together to achieve a purpose. Much as a swarm of bees works together for the benefit of the hive.
They could be pre-programmed to fly in a particular formation – for example, to create the shape of the five Olympic rings. As they did during the opening ceremony for the Pyeong Chang Winter Olympics in 2018.
A little surprising, perhaps, in the country that invented gunpowder. But there’s a very practical reason for it. Because China has banned the use of fireworks in more than 400 cities – to reduce pollution.
Hardly surprising, then, that drone swarm technology has had a massive boost in the world’s most populous nation. And – as this video shows – the effects it can achieve already come close to matching a sophisticated firework display. Without the smoke. The noise (which pet owners will be grateful for). Or, of course, the debris.
But there’s a sinister side to drone swarms…
Drone swarms in place of fireworks may raise a few concerns about safety and control (quite rightly), but in competent hands they’ve already proved their worth.
Drone swarms as a weapon are a little more worrying.
Picture a swarm of more than a hundred autonomous drones – in other words, drones that control themselves. They’re designed for vertical take-off, so they can launch from a relatively small area – or even from inside a building. They have a target, of course, but there’s no one actually flying them. So there’s no control signal to jam. And each of them is carrying a small but powerful explosive charge…
You could shoot them down, of course. But you wouldn’t get all of them.
You could try frying their microchips with an electromagnetic pulse. But you’d risk frying your own as well (and there a lot of them about on today’s battlefields). And you still wouldn’t, necessarily, take all the drones down.
The Russians are working on exactly that concept – and calling it ‘Flock-93‘. But everyone else has their own take on it.
For example, imagine a small platoon approaching enemy territory – surrounded by drones providing ‘eyes in the sky’ at every point. Pinpointing hostile positions (and, conceivably, taking them out). And then, perhaps, encountering an enemy drone swarm.
This video shows how drone swarms might be used in urban warfare to check out buildings that could be sheltering hostile forces.
And it gives an entirely new meaning to the term ‘keyboard warrior’…
If you’d like to know more about the more peaceful uses of drone technology, we’ll be happy to help. Why not give us a call on 07971 519729 or drop us an email?