DARPA unveils a military drone worthy of sci-fi

Already known for its military drones, the United States is now striving to conquer a new environment: the ocean.

Today, when you type “drone” into a search engine, you mostly see the little quadcopters that the general public has loved in recent years. So it would be easy to forget that this technology has its roots in the military sector. As these independent organs are likely to proliferate, research continues just fine; The US military wants to break out of the usual model with Prototype “UAV” spotted by Interesting geometry.

This machine called the Manta Ray is a project of DARPA, a US federal agency dedicated to research and development in military technologies. He will be able to.It operates at extreme depths, and take Various payloads to accomplish different specialized tasks. As it stands, DARPA makes it clear that it is not intended to be a combat device; It remains to be seen if it will remain a “simple” utility or if its privileges will evolve in the future.

But more than the specific role that will be attributed to Manta Ray, he is above all else How it works Which looks very interesting. In fact, it is designed to work in Full autonomy for extremely long periods.DARPA’s Manta Ray program has made significant progress in the goal of producing an autonomous underwater vehicle capable of operating independently of any supporting vehicle or infrastructure.‘Can we read the press release.

Practically unlimited operational autonomy?

This last sentence is surprising. This indicates that the machine will be able to feed itself, or even repair itself without the intervention of a person or specialized base; The design is still somewhat science fiction today. Obviously, since it’s a file military agency, we do not haveThere are no additional details for this formula. And if this intriguing technology lives up to those promises, there’s no doubt DARPA will jealously keep its secret.

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To allow the Manta Ray to fly surreptitiously and effectively, its design is inspired by both the species of fish that gave it its name and stealth aircraft like the famous SR71. © Muhammad Nashah – Unsplash / © Lockheed

But the agency seems confident anyway. He has just successfully completed the first phase of the examination that relates to “Energy management, reliability, damage, wear control, navigation and obstacle avoidanceFrom now on, it attacks the second stage which will make it possible to test the device subsystems individually. During this stage DARPA must 100% functional first prototype tested And in actual size. With a bit of luck, we’ll have the right to grab a few snippets of information about this engineering gem which in particular can be used to spy on submarines.

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