DARPA Envisions Schools of Drones in Air and Sea
Kyle Maxey posted on July 26, 2013 |
Hydra project will launch drone swarms from submarine mother drones 
Darpa, sub, UAV, robot, UUV, space, exporation, military, submarine, shipDARPA has introduced a new goal; to create a submersible drone designed to transport and deploy unmanned aerial and underwater vehicles (UAVs and UUVs).

The project, which goes by the apt moniker Hydra, will seek to develop large “mothership” UUVs that can stealthily deploy smaller, modular UUVs.  These will be used to support and respond to military missions around the globe.

According to DARPA, “The rising number of ungoverned states, piracy, and proliferation of sophisticated defenses severely stretches current resources and impacts the nation’s ability to conduct special operations and contingency missions. The Hydra program represents a cost effective way to add undersea capacity that can be tailored to support each mission.”

While one of the primary goals of the project is to use existing technology to realize the Hyrda concept, DARPA project managers are open to the development of new UUV and UAV concepts that can increase the capabilities of these drones.

The project will also focus on creating a universal enclosure and deployment system, which presumably means that DARPA is looking to mass produce the Hydra at some later date.

While an autonomous attack submarine armed with a Hydra system is completely terrifying, there may be civilian uses for DARPA’s new pet project. With missions to explore both Europa and Titan now being considered NASA scientists might find a way to speed up their discovery efforts with the new Hydra system. Furthermore, oceanographers and biologists might finally have a vehicle to explore the largely undiscovered depths of this planet’s oceans.

While details of the Hydra project are still a little fuzzy, DARPA plans to clarify the project’s goals during a briefing at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory on August 5.  Regardless of its use, a submersible drone that can birth more drones would be a wild and impressive advance in robotics.

Images Courtesy of Raytheon

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