Everyone knows that the most fool-proof way to improve anything on the planet is to make it mini. This maxim doesn’t just hold true for tiny horses and baby cups of coffee. The military is also developing miniature unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAVS) for surveillance and coordinated attacks.

The Air Force is literally comparing this new technology to a swarm of bees, but the potential of these bite-sized drones is far more devastating than a mild bee sting. Once released from an aircraft, the drone swarms will fan out and overwhelm enemy radar and surveillance. At the same time, the drones’ own computers will capture a complete picture of the situation on the ground. While ground forces may eliminate a few, the sheer volume of drones will allow the Air Force to maintain a constant blanket over the high-threat area.

Engineers are still exploring other uses of this technology, such as weapons delivery. The Air Force plans to launch 30 UAVs into the air in under a minute aboard the Sea Fighter, another experimental vehicle, by 2016.

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