Northrop Grumman has been appointed Phase I Swarm Systems Integrator as part of the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) programme.
With appointment now official, Northrop Grumman is seeking participants to cultivate their own swarm-based tactics on the organisation’s first open architecture test bed. The defence specialist will partner up with Intelligent Automation and the Interactive Computing Experiences Research Cluster, directed by Dr Joseph LaViola at the University of Central Florida, to make this vision a reality.
As Swarm Systems Integrator, Northrop Grumman will oversee design, development and deployment of an open-based architecture for swarm technologies across the game-based environment and the physical test bed. The partnership will also produce tactics and technologies to test on the architecture itself and have responsibility for engaging with the wider audience via rapid technology-development exercises or “swarm sprints”.
DARPA will solicit proposals from potential “sprinters” every six months in one of five thrust areas:
- Swarm tactics
- Swarm autonomy
- Human-swarm teaming
- Virtual environment
- Physical test bed
Academia, SMEs and larger organisations are all invited to take part. Sprinters will work alongside the integration team to pit their own swarm tactics against the test bed environment. Each sprint will culminate in a live physical test experiment with DARPA, the systems integrator team and other sprinters on-hand.
The goal of the OFFSET programme is to provide small-unit infantry forces with unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) or unmanned ground systems (UGSs) in swarms of 250 or more that can support diverse missions in complex urban environments.
“Cognitive autonomy has the potential to transform all defence and security systems. OFFSET will explore a variety of applications in relevant mission scenarios,” said Vern Boyle, Vice President of Advanced Technologies at Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. “We are applying cutting-edge technologies in robotics, robot autonomy, machine learning and swarm control to ultimately enhance our contributions to the warfighter.”
To participate in Northrop Grumman’s swarm sprints, visit the Swarm Tactics Exchange Portal at http://www.swarmtex.com.
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