Check out this video in which a swarm of drones flies autonomously through a dense forest while staying in formation. Imagine how effective Search and Rescue missions could be…
A swarm of drones flies in formation through a forest
Flying a single drone through a dense forest can be quite a challenge in itself. Let alone trying to fly a swarm of drones through a wooded area while staying in formation. However, as you can see in this video below it seems that researchers have cracked the code.
The solution builds on how a single drone is able to navigate through a dense forest by quickly mapping out the area around the unmanned aircraft as obstacles come within view by using its onboard camera and computer. the team of researchers enabled the drones that are part of the swarm to communicate with each other over WiFi to allow the aircraft to select routes that would not only avoid the trees but also any other nearby drones while maintaining the formation.
According to Science Mag, the technique requires very little computing power and continues to work even if the wireless connection between the drones is spotty. During real-life tests, a formation of three unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) was easily able to quickly move through a forest with trees randomly spaced.
The researchers say that the swarm can easily be scaled up. The team has flown swarms of up to 10 virtual drones in computer simulations with very densely packed forests.
According to the researchers, the obstacle-avoiding swarms of drones hold great promise for search and rescue missions in disaster-struck areas.
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