A flock of indoor uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) is helping engineers develop smart swarming strategies for larger autonomous surveillance aircraft.
The multiple-rotor radio-controlled aircraft provide a simple and cheap way to test out strategies before they are scaled-up for real world use.
"We're focusing on persistent surveillance," says project leader Jonathan How at MIT in the US. "This would be useful for, say, convoy protection." His team is working in collaboration with Phantom Works, the research and development arm of Boeing.