A team of unmanned subs developed by European researchers could use new software to work together as a team, exploring the ocean's deepest secrets, conducting search-and-rescue operations or, conceivably, sealing off a blown-out oil well.
The European Union-funded Grex project, named for the Latin word for "flock," involves networking software to coordinate multiple autonomous underwater vehicles, or AUVs. Multiple AUVs can benefit from the sum of their parts, as the project's Web site notes -- each could perform separate functions that contribute to a larger mission.
Warships are limited in their ability to patrol vast areas of ocean against pirates, but a modular, self-assembling floating platform delivered by cargo ships could provide a cheaper naval base for military forces. The futuristic twist on a heritage technology comes from none other than the Pentagon's DARPA, The Register reports.