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Stefanie Tompkins: DARPA Program Seeks ‘Muscle Memory’ for UAVs in Humanitarian, Combat Missions

1 min read

naval drone stock photoThe Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has started a program to develop unmanned aerial vehicles that DARPA wants to aid in the U.S. military’s humanitarian and combat operations.

DARPA wants “lightweight” drones that can navigate complex spaces and structures at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour without human intervention, the agency said Dec. 22.

“Urban and disaster relief operations would be obvious key beneficiaries, but applications for this technology could extend to a wide variety of missions using small and large unmanned systems linked together with manned platforms as a system of systems,” said Stefanie Tompkins, director of DARPA’s defense sciences office.

“By enabling unmanned systems to learn ‘muscle memory’ and perception for basic tasks like avoiding obstacles, it would relieve overload and stress on human operators so they can focus on supervising the systems and executing the larger mission.”

The Fast Lightweight Autonomy program also aims to build UAVs for combat operations in urban areas.

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