Swarms, Not Flocks

Paul Raven @ 08-08-2006

Here’s an interesting round-up of info about the work being done on developing UAVs that fly in swarms. The swarm is a great model of operations for flying robots, as it allows for complex behaviours without centralised control of the individuals, by using a form of communication referred to as ‘stigmergy’. Not convinced? Think of a flock of birds at dusk, and the way they can all move with a uniform fluidity, never crashing into one another, and seemingly thinking as one. We’ll probably see military apps first, but this technique could be applied to planetary exploration too.

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