DARPA’s OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) program envisions future small-unit infantry forces using small unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) and/or small unmanned ground systems (UGSs) in swarms of 250 robots or more to accomplish diverse missions in complex urban environments. By leveraging and combining emerging technologies in swarm autonomy and human-swarm teaming, the program seeks to enable rapid development and deployment of breakthrough capabilities to the field. DARPA is continuing its pursuit of these goals through awarding Phase 1 contracts to teams led by Raytheon BBN Technologies (Cambridge, Massachusetts) and the Northrop Grumman Corporation (Linthicum, Maryland).
The focus of this effort is the generation of swarm tactics for a mixed swarm of 50 air and ground robots to isolate an urban objective within an area of two square city blocks over a mission duration of 15 to 30 minutes. Operationally relevant tactics to achieve that mission include performing reconnaissance, identifying ingress and egress points, and establishing a perimeter around an area of operation.