Swarm Over Switzerland

SMAVNETThe SMAVNET or Swarming Micro Air Vehicle Network is a project from the EFPL School of Engineering.

Basically a small swarm of flying robots are deployed, say in a disaster area.    The robots fly above, maintaining a rough shape and each robot is equipped with a Wi-Fi dongle, creating a large network for communications.

The flying robots also employee Zigbee and GPS to communicate with each other and for logging data.

Using ants and their search for food as inspiration, a type of swarm behavior has been developed.  Also, safety and collision avoidance have been thought of.

The critical issue of operational safety has been addressed by light-weight, low-inertia platform design and by implementing several security features in software. Among other things, we looked at mid-air collision avoidance using local communication links and negotiation of flight altitudes between robots. By providing a risk analysis for ground impact and mid-air collisions to the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Aviation (FOCA), we obtained an official authorization for beyond-line-of-sight swarm operation at our testing site.

Look out, the researchers have been officially been allowed to let the swarm out of their sight.  The robots are finally taking over.

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