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Swarm of military mini-drones created in the US - VIDEO PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 09:00

US military engineers have presented a swarm of mini-drones. Drones called "Cicadas" (CICADAs) are able to perform several important functions during the fighting, with each of them fit on the human hand.

As the name suggests, it is inspired by the development of insect family Cicadidae, who conduct underground for years before to escape into the air a huge swarm of air, and then again to hide under the ground.

"We decided to borrow the idea of ​​nature. The main feature of" Cicadas "is that there will be so many that the enemy will not be able to eliminate all of them," - says a leading developer Aaron Kahn (Aaron Kahn) of the Research Laboratory of the Military US Navy (Naval Research Laboratory).

The name of the swarm of drones - CICADA - as is the acronym for the phrase Covert Autonomous Disposable aircraft, ie "hidden autonomous disposable aircraft." robots designed specifically so as to be smaller, cheaper and easier to design than any analogs. However, they are able to cope with major military challenges facing the drones.

The cost of the prototype amounted to a thoUSAnd dollars apiece, but it can be reduced up to $ 250, said Kang. Drones have no engines, and the whole structure is made up of 10 pieces, and resembles a paper airplane.

Deflated with military aircraft, balloon or a large drone, "Cicadas" will be guided by GPS and moving in the direction of predetermined coordinates.

Scientists have conducted the first field tests of development in Yuma, Arizona: drones were released from the aircraft at an altitude of 17,500 meters and flew almost 18 kilometers, before landing within 4.5 meters from its target.

The tests also showed that the "Cicadas" capable of speeds up to 74 kilometers per hour and to move almost silently because of their design and the lack of any engine propulsion systems.

"On the part of our drones swarm it looks like a flock of birds flying to the ground. They are very hard to see and even more identified as a military facility," - says co-author engineer Daniel Edwards (Daniel Edwards).

During the test, the drones were equipped with sensors that transmit information on ambient temperature, humidity and pressure. However, engineers say that to the body "Cicadas" you can attach virtually any sensors, including light mini-microphones.

"In a sense," Cicadas "like a robot homing pigeons: you send them on a mission, and they fly there and come back with the new information. For example, if the drones equipped with microphones and seismic detectors, they can determine where and how direction moving enemy vehicles, as well as the speed at which they travel, "- says Kahn.

Also "Cicadas" can be equipped with magnetic sensors so that they can monitor the movements of military submarines and intercept communications.

Currently video feed equipment is a complex technical challenge, but the authors do not rule out the development that in the future it will be possible to supplement their drones and shooting functions.

One of the most remarkable benefits of the new drones is their increased strength. Despite the fact that the look "Cicadas" like paper airplanes, they may fall from the ten-altitude crash into the gravel, asphalt and sand, and remain fully functional.

"The only thing that turned out to be disastrous for our drones - a desert shrub" - admits Kahn.

According to Kahn, the possibility of "Cicadas" go far beyond military operations. Drones can also be used in meteorology and weather forecasters, for example, to predict a tornado on the testimony of temperature, pressure and humidity. And in the near future for these purposes and will be used by the new drones.


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