Raytheon demonstrates swarm technology in DARPA’s fifth field exercise

Raytheon BBN-led team recently supported DARPA’s fifth OFFSET program field exercise. Credit: Raytheon Company, a Raytheon Technologies company.

Raytheon Intelligence & Space (RIS) has demonstrated its swarm technology in the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) fifth OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) programme field exercise.

During this field exercise, a single operator successfully controlled a swarm using the solution developed by a Raytheon BBN Technologies-led team.

The swarm consisted of 130 physical drone platforms and 30 simulated drone platforms in an urban scenario.

The team used a combination of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) and custom-built hardware and software to deliver swarm autonomy in the exercise.

With very little training, a single operator or group of operators were successful in directing and handling the activities of autonomous air and ground vehicles.

Raytheon BBN OFFSET principal investigator Shane Clark said: “Controlling a drone swarm changes the way an operator or group of operators think about the drones.

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“Takeaways from this exercise help inform us of the inflection points between utility and manageability.”

Furthermore, the Raytheon BBN team also developed and established a ‘scalable, modular and decentralised approach’ to handle several existing and future platforms and operations.

The Raytheon BBN team also built a virtual reality (VR) interface to help deal with the challenges of human swarm interfaces.
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Clark added: “You can look behind the building to access a view of drone locations, for example, and use the virtual reality environment to test and see if your mission is viable.

“We also developed a speech interface with the operationally deployed Tactical Assault Kit, or TAK, integration capability that enab …

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