To help make effective swarm tactics with small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and other robots a reality, DARPA planned and organized the Service Academies Swarm Challenge, a collaboration between the Agency and the three U.S. military Service academies—the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, and the U.S. Air Force Academy. An experiment at its heart, the research effort was designed to encourage students to develop innovative offensive and defensive tactics for swarms of small UAVs.
In April, the Challenge culminated with a three-day Live-Fly Competition at Camp Roberts, a California Army National Guard post north of Paso Robles, Calif. There, more than 40 Cadets and Midshipmen demonstrated the highly autonomous swarm tactics they have developed since work started in September. Over the course of the competition’s three days and three head-to-matches, the Navy team beat both the Army and the Air Force teams.
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