DARPA is Open to Ideas For New Types of Drone Swarm Technology
Most recently, they're looking into drone swarms and attempting to figure out what exactly they can do with this sort of technology. To that effect, they've started one of their "sprints" where they rapidly develop and test new ideas and collect proposals from anyone who thinks they've got something and is ready to give that away to the government.
Their program which runs these sprints, called OFFSET (loosely short for Offensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics), has announced that their latest sprint is themed around "autonomy" and proposals should focus on drone swarms that can move autonomously with each other.
Our OFFSET prgm envisions future small-unit infantry forces using unmanned aircraft systems and/or unmanned ground systems in swarms of >250 robots for missions in urban environments. We're now seeking concepts for 2nd "swarm sprint" focused on autonomy. https://t.co/PS2UrtIXOT pic.twitter.com/WEaiktfeN6— DARPA (@DARPA) March 30, 2018
There are some more rules, of course. Drone swarms using this new technology would need to "isolate an urban objective", which they say could mean anything from conducting reconnaissance, mapping out a complex city, or identifying and possibly attacking threats. The proposals would need to work in a swarm of at least 50 robots.
Like previous challenges where they've solicited ideas for surviving underground, they appear to allow proposals to be tested in virtual and/or physical environments, with government contracts being awarded to the winners.
DARPA will be accepting submissions until April 30, 2018. Competition will be tough, but anything that keeps DARPA busy from trying to turn plants into surveillance devices should be fine.