Drone Swarms in Cluttered Environments [VIDEO}

Drone swarms have tremendous potential for commercial and military applications.  In the commercial sector, multiple drones flying in a planned formation could dramatically cut the time required to gather aerial data about a large area.  For military or public safety applications, swarms offer unparalleled opportunities for search and rescue or disaster response situations.

Drone shows are on example of drone swarm technology that is becoming more prevalent, showing the complex formations that can be achieved.  But what if the aircraft aren’t just functioning in wide open sky or under an event tent, but must travel through an urban environment crowded with buildings, an interior space, or a thick forest?

Researchers point out that drone swarm and obstacle avoidance technology is available – but to date, most solutions have allowed either a single drone to operate autonomously in a cluttered environment or multiple drones to operate in an open environment.  The EGO-Swarm technology, demonstrated in the video below, allows both: a swarm of quadcopters can navigate through cluttered environments, with each aircraft avoiding obstacles while remaining in formation.   Additionally, the EGO-Swarm code achieves this without external resources, such as a pre-built map.

The technology for flying multiple drones in formation is getting more sophisticated all the time – and now researchers have made EGO-Swarm source code available for community reference.  The industry may be able to leverage this tool to create new applications and optimize the value of drones for commercial and military uses.

See the video below from Science Magazine.

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry.  Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.


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