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Here’s what happens when a YouTuber programs a drone swarm to attack his face

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Prominent YouTuber Michael Reeves has used his latest video to answer a question most of you probably (and hopefully) never had: how do you program a group of drones to target and smash into someone’s head?

Reeves is a young full stack developer with more than 1.1 million subscribers on YouTube. In his latest humorous offering, Head Hunting Drone Swarm, he spends the first six or so minutes explaining how he sets up the ‘attack.’ His mission? To make his drones autonomously fly towards his face to in someway simulate the forthcoming “robot uprising”.

How’d he do it?

Reeves connects 12 Parrot AR drones to a network and then runs facial recognition software on footage fed from the drones’ cameras back to his computer. Why Parrot drones? He explains that 12 of them cost about as much as one high-end DJI drone. Fair enough.

He programs several of the drones to be ‘leaders’ which are tasked with recognizing his face. When the leaders have succeeded in finding him, they feed the command back to their two ‘followers’ to zip towards said him at maximum speed (although he’s in a fairly small room).

Before the first test Reeves states:

“This is the first ever live test of a killer drone swarm. You don’t have to thank me, I’m not a hero, just a guy with a dream…”

I won’t explain the rest – you can watch it for yourself:

If you’ve now seen it – the sight of the dozen Parrot drones rising in unison with the intention of launching at Michael’s face was just a touch unsettling. After that.. well haha. Parrot may not have been the best choice for test UAVs.

By the third test, Reeves has effectively done what he set out to do; proved that using today’s technology, it is not particularly difficult to weaponize consumer drones in order to harm someone, if you are so inclined. The fact that so few of these sort of attacks have occurred is frankly amazing. While there are, of course, more effective means of taking someone out than a with a drone swarm, as technology rapidly develops and they get smaller, faster, cheaper and loaded with better software – this could be a real threat to humanity. Even Elon Musk thinks so!

Story and Slaughterbot video on page 2 

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