by Staff Writers
Moscow (Voice of Russia) Apr 01, 2014

File image.

The Pentagon’s research unit is ready to launch a program that unites drones into teams allowing them to share data and act together on a battlefield while being operated by one human. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently announced that the Proposers’ Day for its Collaborative Operations in Denied Environments (CODE) program will be held on April 11. CODE’s goal is to unite “autonomy and inter-platform collaboration” of unmanned aerial vehicles.

DARPA intends to develop four “critical technology areas” for its future drones: single-drone flight autonomy; a human-systems interface that allows a “mission commander” to operate a drone fleet; drone-team collaboration; and an “open architecture” that allows drones to pass information between each other and humans.

According to DARPA, the CODE project will prepare today’s relatively primitive drones for future conflicts, which will be characterized by “a higher level of threats, contested electromagnetic spectrum, and re-locatable targets.” DARPA believes that in future, drone technology will be more widespread, and enemies will be more ready to counteract.

It was recently reported that DARPA is also doubling funding for its Hydra program, which develops underwater drones. Some of DARPA’s other projects include inaudible military vehicles, the ATLAS robot, brain-reading technology and lasers to shoot down multiple enemy drones.

Smartphone-controlled drones to support US troops in combat zones
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) hopes to work with contractors to develop smartphone-controlled drones for US Army ground troops to use to stay better protected while out in the field.

“Many missions require dedicated vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) assets, but most ground units don’t have their own helicopters,” said Ashish Bagai, DARPA program manager, in a press statement. “ARES would make organic and versatile VTOL capability available to many more individual units. Our goal is to provide flexible, terrain-independent transportation that avoids ground-based threats, in turn supporting expedited, cost-effective operations and improving the likelihood of mission success.”

The ARES is in its third and final phase, with Lockheed Martin currently taking the lead on DARPA’s research.

There is increased interest in using smaller, field-deployable drones, so soldiers on the ground are able to do short-range reconnaissance – or to launch small-scale aerial assaults. Unlike civilian smartphone-controlled drones, DARPA is seeking technology able to carry up to 3,000 pounds, allowing for weapons and supply reinforcements as well.

Private sector companies and government contractors have already developed technologies for use by special forces, but ARES could be widely deployed.

DARPA’s new search engine to crawl Deep Web, root out human trafficking and illicit business
A new kind of web search engine capable of ferreting out human trafficking operations and other illegal activities, hidden in the “deep Web” of the Internet, is expected to become reality in a few years as the US agency responsible for the development of new technologies for use by the military is looking for a partner to create a project which may come in handy for law enforcement and military operations.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, is the agency which works on the development of new military technologies such as robots, satellites and body armor. It is currently seeking ways to technologically index the “deep Web” of the Internet – forums, chat rooms and other semi-hidden parts of the Web – which are not scanned by the majority of search engines such as Google and Bing and where a substantial part of illicit business takes place.

The brand-new project was dubbed “Memex ” which is a combination of the words “memory” and “index.” The main objective of Memex is rooting out human trafficking operations, including labor and sex trafficking. The system is supposed to replace sites that have enabled software that currently prevents them from being “crawled” by today’s search engines. According to DARPA, “an index curated for the counter trafficking domain, along with configurable interfaces for search and analysis will enable a new opportunity for military, law enforcement, legal, and intelligence actions to be taken against trafficking enterprises.”

Last year, Time magazine wrote about the “deep Web”, emphasizing that it is an “electronic haven for thieves, child pornographers, human traffickers, forgers, assassins and peddlers of state secrets and loose nukes.” The problem is that many of these sites hide in the less-monitored corners of the Internet and cannot be accessed with normal search engines as they require specific software programs.

Interestingly, the “deep Web” was crafted by the US government as a tool for espionage agents and law enforcement. However, over the past decade, it became widely used by people searching for privacy or ways to conduct illicit activities on the Internet secretly.

The Memex project was opened for proposals last week and companies can submit their final proposals until April 8.

Meet ARES: DARPA’s newest transformer-style drones under development
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as DAPRA, presented concept images of its scheme to pair up the US military with modular drones named Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES for short), capable of transforming to comply with the needs of different missions.

The ARES drone will be utilized as an unmanned vehicle that would be able to set military units down in dangerous environments. The UAV could also be used as a resupplying entity for troop deployments. If injured combatants need to be evacuated from an area, ARES can help facilitate such ventures.

The final variant of ARES has been shown off as a sort of drone that can buzz around air space but can also be connected to a variety of modules such as vehicles or special container units. It was created from a project called Transformer (TX) with the primary goal being to make “a ground vehicle that is capable of configuring into a VTOL [vertical take-off and landing] air vehicle that provides sufficient flight performance and range, while carrying a payload that is representative of four troops with gear.”

“ARES would make organic and versatile VTOL capability available to many more individual units,” Ashish Bagai, DARPA program manager, said in a statement, “Our goal is to provide flexible, terrain-independent transportation that avoids ground-based threats, in turn supporting expedited, cost-effective operations and improving the likelihood of mission success.” Design assistance and system integration techniques are being taken care of by Lockheed Martin Skunkworks, with ARES in its last stage.