Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Control Your Own Drone Army

Maintenance personnel near the Mexican border check a Predator drone operated by the U.S. Office of Air and Marine   

Maintenance personnel near the Mexican border check a Predator drone operated by the U.S. Office of Air and Marine.

For those who dream of force multiplication—military tacticians and nerdy loners alike—not much beats having a drone. Unless it’s having a whole fleet of coordinated drones. That vision has now come a little closer to reality.

A startup called DreamHammer last week announced that it was rolling out a beta version of software that would allow for the coordinated control of multiple drones. Those drones wouldn’t have to all be in the air, either—some could be unmanned aerial vehicles, some could be wheeled rovers, some could be watercraft, or submarines. In theory, a single person wielding an iPad could carry out a personal robo-D-Day.

Nobody is proposing that quite yet. But DreamHammer’s software, called Ballista, is meant to solve a little-remarked problem with today’s drones: They’re not that much more efficient, manpower-wise, than manned vehicles. Each drone that U.S. military and intelligence services send on a mission requires a whole support and operations team—a pilot, a person managing the payload (usually a camera or other sensor), and someone to plan the route and make sense of the data it collects.

For the rest of the story: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-05-21/control-your-own-drone-army#r=hp-ls

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