Bullets haven’t evolved in many years, but now DARPA’s smart bullets could turn everyone into a professional sniper.


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DARPA’s self-steering bullet, which first appeared in 2015 as you can see in the video below, is, if acronyms are enough to go by, supposed to have “razor-fine precision.” Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance, or EXACTO, is a bullet that chases its target, adjusting course mid-flight to make sure it hits exactly what or who it is supposed to hit. And recently DARPA tested their latest version of their new bullet against moving targets, and pounded them all.

The video of DARPA’s early tests look like an obscure video game from the 1980s where players trace out a path to a robot which then runs away. Tracked on screen are the projected path of the bullet, and then the actual flight path EXACTO takes, and you can see it bending and turning its trajectory to follow a sideways-sprinting target, which is no mean feat.


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Over several shots, EXACTO improves the accuracy of both expert and novice snipers sending .50 caliber doom to its mark each and every time.


Watch EXACTO in action

For now EXACTO is specifically designed for combat in places like rural patrols in Afghanistan, where fighting is at long range and the weather can interfere with snipers’ accuracy. It is, as the name hints, a weapon specifically for edge cases which is what most snipers do, and this won’t change, but in the instances where having a self-correcting bullet could matter DARPA wants to make sure that the US military has a weapon that can do what its opponents can’t.


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Little information about EXACTO is publicly available, but despite fears to the contrary by military experts it’s unlikely we’ll see the technology escape into the wild and appear on American streets any time soon, if only because of its cost.

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.

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