A War of Robots

July 11, 2002 | Source: New York Times

Since the United States military campaign began in Afghanistan, the unmanned spy plane has gone from a bit player to a starring role in Pentagon planning. Rather than the handful of “autonomous vehicles,” or A.V.’s, that snooped on Al Qaeda hideouts, commanders are envisioning wars involving vast robotic fleets on the ground, in the air and on the seas — swarms of drones that will not just find their foes, but fight them, too.

This would require an entirely new kind of distributed “wireless Internet” in the sky. The Multimedia Intelligent Network of Unattended Mobile Agents, or Minuteman, project is modeled on the human brain and reconfigures itself in the event of congestion and other problems.