May 29, 2024
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FAA awards approval for drone swarm testing

Stephen Wampler/LLNL

LLNL’s Autonomous Sensors team has received the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) first and—to date—only certificate of authorization allowing autonomous drone swarming exercises on the Lab main campus. These flights will test swarm controls and sensor payloads used in a variety of national security applications. Autonomous drone swarms differ from those used for entertainment purposes that you might see at a baseball stadium because autonomous drones are designed to operate spontaneously and independently in real time. “The Lab has been exploring how to apply cutting-edge artificial intelligence and machine learning to its autonomous sensors, but we couldn’t actually field-test those tools,” said Brian Wihl, systems engineer at the Lab and project lead for this initiative. “Receiving this approval enables us to take the next step in our research. We’ll be able to apply swarming technology across several national security mission spaces to see how the swarms learn and respond in real-time.” Read more at LLNL News.