The US military recently tested a ‘swarm’ of over 100 Perdix micro-drones that were released in the skies over southern California by F-18 Hornets. The drones which are only 11.8 inches (30 cm) long communicate with each other via artificial intelligence and reportedly make decisions together.

It is thought that the drones working together in this manner may act as some form of intelligence gathering capability.

Watch the Perdix Drones Released from an F-18

“Perdix are not pre-programmed synchronised individuals, they are a collective organism, sharing one distributed brain for decision-making and adapting to each other like swarms in nature,” said William Roper, director of the Strategic Capabilities Office.

“Because every Perdix communicates and collaborates with every other Perdix, the swarm has no leader and can gracefully adapt to drones entering or exiting the team.”

A total of 103 drones took part in the test, where they demonstrated “collective decision-making, adaptive formation flying, and self-healing”. – The Sun

The goal of the test was to see if small groups of inexpensive drones could act together to accomplish a mission that previously could only be done with larger, more expensive autonomous units. There is no doubt the future of military and civilian aviation will be dramatically different with the rapid advancement of drone technology.

Featured Image by US Department of Defense video screenshot