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2020/06/11 Episode 28: Swarm Commander

2020/06/11 Episode 28: Swarm Commander

In this episode of the Voices from DARPA podcast, Dr. Timothy Chung, a program manager since 2016 in the agency’s Tactical Technology Office, delves into his robotics and autonomous technology programs – the Subterranean (SubT) Challenge and OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET). From robot soccer to live-fly experimentation programs involving dozens of unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), he explains how he aims to assist humans heading into unknown environments via advances in collaborative autonomy and robotics.

The SubT Challenge focuses on the underground – human-made tunnels, the urban underground, and natural cave networks. Teams from around the world vie for prizes via Systems (physical) and Virtual competitions, with air and ground platforms attempting to rapidly map, navigate, and search the subterranean domain.

The OFFSET program envisions small-unit infantry forces seamlessly teaming with swarms of even hundreds of (UASs) and/or small unmanned ground systems. The program combines emerging technologies in swarm autonomy and human-swarm teaming.

Chung shares how he learned to see things not as impossible, but rather un-possible because, “it’s not that it can’t be done. It just hasn’t been done yet.”


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