From the discovery of the first-ever robot known as “Elsie” in the 1950s to the highly automated robots powered by artificial intelligence and augmented reality being used today, the robotics evolution has come too far. Scientists from Zhejiang University have been working on such types of drones for a long time and have finally developed a swarm of drones having the potential to fully operate in areas of terrain and obstacles, thus smoothly navigating through their paths to accomplish a target. As per the report published by the researchers, they have used a metaphor from Star Wars, Prometheus, and Blade Runner 2049 for this swarm of drones to describe their extraordinary capabilities. Check out the video below, in which a cluster of 10 swarm drones can be seen flying among the bamboo trees in China, making their way across the bushes and meticulously navigating through the track:
There is no doubt that scientists have achieved a common feat before in the form of these swarms, except for the feature of navigation through obstacles. Therefore, this incredible potential to avoid hazards while flying is indeed the most exciting feature of this stupendous technology. These drones are programmed for extremely complex situations, combined with the new prospect of sharing and communicating data with each other during their flight through the cameras integrated on board to map their flight path. This implies that if one of the drones is hindered by the path blockage for any reason, it can easily take the data from its buddy drones to set a new route for its pathway. According to a roboticist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Enrica Soria, “This is the first time there’s a swarm of drones successfully flying outside in an unstructured environment, in the wild,” she said, adding the experiment was “impressive.”
Importantly, these swarm drones are composed of in-depth cameras, altitude sensors, and an onboard “programmed” computer that operates on specific algorithms to fly through unstructured environments. They are highly autonomous drones with a built-in systematic approach to collision avoidance and rigorous advancements to assess and manage situations through flight efficiency techniques. In the event of a catastrophe or during a military conflict, these drones can utilize their navigation skills for tracking and surveillance purposes. Also, these drones have the dormant potential to investigate vulnerable areas like those hit by earthquakes and to identify hazardous locations that cannot be reached by human beings.
In the paper which has been published in the “Journal of Science Robotics”, it is stated that, “In natural disasters like earthquakes and floods, a swarm of drones can search, guide, and deliver emergency supplies to trapped people,” they write. “For example, in wildfires, an agile multicopter can quickly collect information from a close view of the front line without the risk of human injury.”