Chinese firm Yunzhou Tech created a technology that would allow multiple drones to engage in “cooperative confrontation” with undesired surface vessels in order to “besiege and expel” them.
unzhou Tech has expanded gradually into near-shore unmanned security boat and research boat products. Now, the new swarming system aims to weaponize these capabilities and put them to use for China’s “maritime development and rights protection” efforts, says the Chinese Communist Party outlet Global Times.
More specifically, the drones are intended to share sensor data, track target vessels at high speed, carry out intercepts and “expel” intruding vessels. They are also capable of autonomous decisionmaking as a group.
Before China, the U.S. Navy has experimented with swarming surface, when a similar program tested out the potential for one operator to control five networked, autonomous unmanned surface vessels.
What is more, in 2017, another program run by Johns Hopkins’ Applied Research Laboratory created a comparable system for autonomous, high speed swarming operations of six midsize RIBs at up to 35 knots.