- "That would explain why the Genii looked like Swiss cheese: the mini-drones went right through ‘em."
- —John Sheppard
Mini-drones, as the name implies, are a miniaturized version of the drone weapon technology developed by the Ancients. They function in much the same way as the larger version, but were designed as an anti-personnel weapon. They were created by the Lanteans during their time in the Pegasus Galaxy.
Mini-drone research was limited to a single planet in the Pegasus galaxy. Though the details of the research facility were stored in the Atlantis database, its location eluded the Atlantis expedition until they stumbled upon it by accident.
Mini-drones operate on the same basic principle as larger drones do. They are enveloped in a powerful energy shield which allows them to burrow through virtually anything, then perforate the target to destroy it. The power requirements of mini-drones are unknown; however, the testing site has been active and continuously powering groups of mini-drones for over 10,000 years with no mention of a power drain. They are controlled through the use of a neural interface connected to a hand scanner rather than a control chair, which requires the use of an additional key in the form of a pendant in order to operate it.
Multiple drones will swarm any potential targets, then move on. This version of the technology has the ability to detect the ATA gene, and will register any who have it as friendly. Though mini-drones behave in much the same manner as regular drones, they have unique behaviors due to their anti-personnel design. Unlike regular drones, which remain inactive until needed, mini-drones fly in a constant search pattern unless otherwise instructed, protecting their designated territory from intruders. It appears that only a small amount of mini-drones perform this function, since at least some of the Genii managed to get past them.
The testing planet is the only observed usage of mini-drones by the Lanteans, so it is unclear how they intended to implement them on a wide-scale. Their design and behavior suggests that they are meant for defense rather than offense, presumably to safeguard their ships and facilities from Wraith troops. (ATL: " Harmony")