Drone technology is advancing at a furious rate and military powers around the world are exploiting them to their advantage, deploying them – arguably – everywhere and anywhere.


The US military tech development agency is testing a special ‘pod’ drone delivery system that can hide in the ocean until remotely triggered to launch a drone. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) ‘upward falling’ payload (UFP) is designed to lie in wait on the ocean floor until a threat arises. A “wake up” signal sent remotely by US military personnel triggers the pod to rise to the surface, where it releases an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) into the sky.


China plays catch up as AI trounces PLA's best fighter pilots in simulated combat


“People thought this was an impossible, moonshot reach, and yet again DARPA has managed to achieve it,” said Allison Barrie, who got a sneak peak of the device.

“You can activate this pod from anywhere in the world. … It’s come so far in such a short period of time.”

The pods are now undergoing sea demonstrations as part of their Phase 3 testing.

The pods are designed to lie “dormant and undetected”, withstanding immense pressure and unpredictable ocean conditions for extended periods of time. The pods could then kick into action after years in hibernation underwater.



“Getting close to objects without warning, and instantiating distributed systems without delay, are key attributes of UFP capability,” said DARPA program manager Jeffrey Krolik.

“To succeed, the UFP program must be able to demonstrate a system that can: (a) survive for years under extreme pressure, (b) be triggered reliably from standoff commands, and (c) rapidly rise through a water column and deploy its payload.”


US Navy protects Chesapeake Bay with swarms of its latest robotic boats


DARPA says that given US Navy operational – and budgetary – limitations, the drone pods have the potential to fill gaps in naval support across wider areas of the world’s oceans. Announcing the phase one element of the project in 2014, program manager Andy Coon said the development offers “low-cost alternatives to traditional approaches” that can “scale well to open-ocean areas”.

“As long as you can command the nodes remotely and quickly, and don’t have to send a ship out to launch it, you’re in good shape,” he added.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Discovery, RT, Viacom, and WIRED, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Aon, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *