China launched 119 fixed-wing drones and sets new world record. On June 11, 2017, China flew 119 UAVs and broke their old 67 swarm record. The purpose of these flights was to research swarm intelligence or synchronized communication between the drones. Fixed-wing drones have the ability to fly longer distances than your average quadcopter. These drones can stay up in the air longer thanks to their gliding capabilities. The 119 drones that China launched were lined up, and they were launched one by one. This type of drone technology can be used for agriculture, mining, mapping, and many other services besides warfare.
Since there is no footage of the 119 drone launch, here is a video of China’s 67 fixed-wing flight last year:
You may have already seen a swarm of drones in action last February at the halftime show of Superbowl 51. Dancing drones and the 119 fixed-wing drones that China flew are different. Both drones do share one thing in common: coordinated flights. The dancing drones that Intel displayed flew synchronized, and they were controlled by one computer. The flight paths of the dancing drones are pre-programmed, and they don’t talk to each other like the Chinese drone swarm.The 119 fixed-wing drones China just launched can be controlled by one person, but they acted as a flock of birds rather than a perfectly synchronized drone group. Instead of flying in harmonized formation, the fixed-wing drones used software to communicate with each other, and they also have the ability to sense and avoid each other.
According to China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC), “swarm intelligence” is regarded as the core of artificial intelligence…and the future of intelligent unmanned systems.”The USA was leading with drone swarm technology in 2015, but China took the lead last year with their 67 drone flight, and they pushed it even further by their recent 119 fixed-wing drone launch.
What Fixed-Wing Brand Did China Use To Fly 119 Drones?
Popular Mechanics identified the drones that China launched as Skywalker X6s, but that was when they first flew with 67 drones. If the 119 drones were the same as before, then the Skywalker X6s were fitted with custom electronics. These drones are low priced, and they can easily be purchased for less than $150 each.
119 Fixed-Wing Purpose
The large amount of coordinated drones can be used for many different applications. Usually, a general command can be entered like “search a certain area.” Once the instructions are received, the swarm of drones will coordinate with each other to accomplish that goal. This type of drone technology has inevitably been tied to bombings and warfare, but they are also capable of wide-area surveillance, search and rescue, and many other useful services.