French Drone Maker Unleashes Autonomous Swarm Concept at CES 2021

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French Drone Maker Unleashes Autonomous Swarm Concept at CES 2021
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During CES 2021 , French drone manufacturer Icarus Swarms announced a new UAS product line targeting security and emergency first-response industries.

A company spokesperson says the new line is “based on a pioneering technology using intelligent pathfinding algorithms and microdrones […]


During CES 2021, French drone manufacturer Icarus Swarms announced a new UAS product line targeting security and emergency first-response industries.

A company spokesperson says the new line is “based on a pioneering technology using intelligent pathfinding algorithms and microdrones coordinated in a swarm.”

Icarus officials hope the new technology will “transform” military and police strategies when responding to emergency situations by deploying swarms of up to 50 autonomous drones.

“This allows the drones to act as active aids to the emergency forces without diverting their attention and manpower,” an Icarus press release notes. “The use of commercial drones for our drone swarms makes this technology particularly affordable and therefore could be replicated and used by a large body of professionals.”

The Parrot Anafi drones can carry a variety of payloads—infrared projectors, radioactive detectors, audio speakers, radio jammers, pyrotechnics and thermal cameras. Drone swarms carrying radioactivity sensors could potentially detect dirty bomb threats at events where large crowds are gathered, such as the Olympic games or to assess radioactivity levels after an explosion to ensure emergency services can safely begin operations.

Adding infrared lights could allow drone swarms to operate concealed military operations at night—advancing military units equipped with night vision goggles would be able to see terrain clearly as the drones illuminate the area with infrared lights.

“We believe this technology has the power to make our responses in emergency situations more efficient and look forward to developing and adapting it along with our partners in the military and response forces,” Icarus Swarms co-founder Jean-Dominique Lauwereins said.

“It has been a long and exciting journey to develop this product. We are convinced that it is just the very beginning and we have only scratched the surface – drone swarms are definitely a disruptive technology.”

Drone swarms have become a growing sub-sector of the UAS industry and are being used for light shows, environmental research and potential military ops.

Last year, DARPA’s OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) program tested a swarm of 250 unmanned vehicles in a mock city at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center in Mississippi. The test simulated an urban raid, allowing researchers to study how swarm tech can provide valuable insights to troops in the field well before hostilities begin.

In 2019, Seattle-based DroneSeed and the Nature Conservancy Oregon deployed drone swarms of up to five aircraft will be deployed to restore rangelands by re-seeding threatened areas – especially in sagebrush steppe habitats. Invasive weed species harm the sagebrush steppe, resulting in a huge swathe of plant loss. In fact, only 50 percent of such plants still exists, with the remaining 50 percent at risk of being lost in just the next 50 years.