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A young scientist from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology has developed a system that will allow UAVs to attack terrorist targets in group formation. The new method which is based on the natural movement of flocks of animals will be able to distinguish between civilians and enemy targets even in highly populated areas and perform its mission with more accuracy and flexibility than any single UAV.

A student at the Technion observed the behavior of flocks of wild animals such as storks, wasps, and ants created a computer model of their behavior. The newly formed algorithm will allow a group of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, to perform various tactical operations in hostile territory. The algorithm will also allow the group to communicate within itself while still enabling it to perform complex tasks.

Each group of individual UAVs, made up of members with different capabilities (i.e., surveillance, communications and attack), has a leader which receives information from all the group members and assigns each UAV a role according to its capability, location and condition. Another key advantage of the flock method is durability. Even if one of the UAVs is damaged or has to return to base to refuel the mission can continue without it, or can even ask for a replacement. A chain of command can also be created whereas if the group leader is hit another UAV can take over.

The system is designed to be completely autonomous, but with the ability to hand over the control to a human operator at any time. This method will allow a small number of human operators to control a large number of UAVs simultaneously by sending orders to the entire flock instead of to an individual unmanned aircraft.

After a year of research under the supervision of Dr. Pini Gurfil of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering in the Technion, who specializes in formation of groups of satellites, IsraCast was informed that the initial research has been completed and that we may see real world applications in the near future.

Iddo Genuth

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