Think quadrocopters are scary? See them fly in flawless formation

We've seen quadrocopters learn a couple of new tricks now, from working together to lift objects to playing ping-pong, even. This one is a little eerie, though: four of the units flying autonomously in formation. It's easy to picture them swarming over the battlefields of the future.

Developed by the University of Pennsylvania's GRASP Lab, the four quadrocopters — also called quadrotors — seem to get smarter by the day. Here we see one 'copter guiding the others, which are tasked with following the lead as well as keeping the formation intact. In fact, if any of the subservient drones fall out of line, the unit knows to guide itself away from the gaggle so that it won't get in the way.

The flight isn't pre-programmed, either, as the test is all about getting the robot's to talk to one another. Each one has to know not only its own position, but be able to relay that info to the other 'copters in the formation and react accordingly as the flight moves as one.

Check it out:

Via IEEE Spectrum

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