July 17, 2012 at 2:57 PM ET
Tiny four-rotor flying drones are able fly in formation akin to the Navy’s Blue Angle fighter jets, only instead of pilots’ keen eyes, they use super-fast image processing to avoid mid-air collisions.
The quadrotors take and send snapshots of markers on the ground to a host computer, which uses the images to calculate the drones’ positions, Kenzo Nonami of Chiba University in Japan, tells video news site Diginfo TV.
Their location and attitude are calculated every 10 milliseconds, allowing them to “fly in a stable manner,” he said.
The technology has been demonstrated with four .66 pound (300 gram) drones, though even more can fly in formation.
Nonami said the quadcopters may find commercial use in surveillance tasks such as looking for people at a compromised chemical plant or an erupting volcano.
While you could do this with one drone, “the more there are, the faster they can obtain information,” he said.
Presumably, if people were spotted, rescue teams would be dispatched.
-- Via Diginfo TV