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OSU Helping Develop Swarm Drone Capability For Urban Combat Scenarios

Jeso Carneiro

The role of unmanned aerial systems – or drones – in urban combat situations is being developed by the U.S. Defense Department, with the help of an Oregon State University professor.  KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.

A $7 million contact has been awarded to what’s called the OFFSET program, or Offensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics, under the Defense Advance Research Agency.

Julie Adams is an OSU Computer Science Professor, who’s helping develop technology that’ll allow U.S. troops to control dozens -- even hundreds -- of unmanned aerial and ground based vehicles to help keep soldiers and civilians safe in city warfare scenarios.

“We want to be able to look at two city square blocks, with a swarm of about 50 entities, to try to identify an individual that we want to track and isolate," explains Adams.  "And then it will scale from there to 250 swarm members, and at eight square city blocks, for some advanced maneuvers.”

The three-and-a-half-year project also involves defense companies Raytheon and Northrup Grumman.  Adams is the only university-based principal investigator in the project.  

Copyright 2017, KLCC. 

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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