drone swarm

A few years ago ‘swarming’ was all the rage as efforts to combat saturation attacks against shipping stepped up a gear. More recently, attention has turned to small unmanned aircraft with many solutions introduced by manufacturers that use electronic or more physical means of countering them.

The video below shows a recent trial of 50 small unmanned aircraft controlled by a single operator.

Each one cost approximately $2,000 and the software and launch system developed by the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.


Each one communicated with each other using WiFi

Once in the air, the drones communicated with each other via a system that uses high-powered Wi-Fi rather than conventional drone-communication systems, which would be swamped by the overlapping signals. The launch also gave an opportunity to test swarming algorithms with real drones rather than simulations.

“Most of the swarming operations are things like ‘follow-me’ mode, where one or more UAVs follow a leader around the sky,” says Jones. This allows the whole swarm to be moved without directing the aircraft individually. There are also algorithms for search-and-rescue operations, in which the flight pattern resembles that of foraging bees.

“The swarm behaviour looks quite random as the aircraft move around the sky trying to optimally search an area in the shortest amount of time,” says Jones.

Read more at New Scientist

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