It’s time global leaders set new rules for these future weapons already being used to kill. In a world first, Israel used a true drone swarm in combat during the conflict in May with Hamas in Gaza. It was a significant new benchmark in drone technology, and it should be a wakeup call for the United States and its allies to mitigate the risk these weapons create for national defense and global stability. Israel’s use of them is just the beginning. Reporting does not suggest the Israeli Defense Forces deployed any particularly sophisticated capability. It seems a small number of drones manufactured by Elbit Systems coordinated searches, but they were used in coordination with mortars and ground-based missiles to strike “dozens” of targets miles away from the border, reportedly. The drones helped expose enemy hiding spots, relayed information back to an app, which processed the data along with other intelligence information. Future swarms will not be so simple. Often the phrase “drone swarm” means multiple drones being used at once. But in a true drone swarm, the drones communicate and collaborate, making collective decisions about where to go and what to do. In a militarized drone swarm, instead of 10 or 100 distinct drones, the swarm forms a single, integrated weapon system guided by some form of artificial intelligence. So, drone swarms are here, and we should be worried. But how best to reduce the risk these weapons pose?
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