Small drones have been a useful tool to the military for years, primarily as a way to provide on-the-spot surveillance. But as hardware and artificial intelligence guidance systems continue to improve, macro- and nano-drones are poised to begin playing a bigger role in contested areas as both friend and foe.
The Department of Defense for the past several years has been working on a full range of methods to put small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to use, from tiny “personal surveillance drones” that weigh just over an ounce and can be clipped onto a soldier’s belt, to models that imitate hawks and insects. And the biggest focus is on small UAVs that can act on their own, whether individually or in swarms that demonstrate a hive mentality, sharing information and working together cohesively during a mission.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects