April 27, 2017

How to Manage a Swarm

By Paul Scharre

Source: Army

Journalist(s) Margaret Roght

Our interview for the April -- June Critical Thinking with Paul Scharre--he's a Ranger vet who did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan who is now a robotics expert at the Center for a New American Security--covered so much good material, but we didn't want to leave it on the cutting room floor. Here's Scharre on how to manage a swarm.

SCHARRE: [You could see] area coverage in this way where there are super rules--like don't get too close or too far away from other agents. And that uses a swarm of agents to cover an area. Those sort of work for all sorts of military problems, whether it's reconnaissance or logistics or building an adaptive and resilient communications networks. And all of those things allow you to then do those tasks with very minimal human supervision. So someone is tasking the swarm to go do some mission or some task, but someone's there micromanaging, which is where you want to go. You can have people flying vehicles or directing vehicles.

And there is a lot of really neat stuff happening inside companies, people doing experiments in DOD labs and in academic labs at universities, doing basic research in swarming. I just think this is an area of tremendous growth potential in both the military and the commercial sector for things like robot warehouse management or delivery or logistics. There's a lot of potential here to harness some of this collective intelligence.

Read the full article from the U.S. Army.

  • Paul Scharre

    Senior Fellow and Director, Technology and National Security Program

    Paul Scharre is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. He is author of the forthcoming book, A...