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Research@Mines Archive:
February, 2019

The Potential Power of Autonomous Flying Swarms

Shankarachary Ragi, Ph.D. an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Mines holds three hummingbird sized drones that his team is working with.

If you’ve ever marveled at a flock of birds moving in complex patterns as if it were one single large organism, you’re not alone. Researchers at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology are working to infuse similar cooperative behavior on a collection of flying robots. This is not an easy task, birds have millions of years of evolution that allow them to flock, researchers developing swarm robotics are writing mathematical models to mimic some of this behavior. Developing the ability for drones to work together in swarms could have wide-ranging applications­—from agriculture to military use. But many scientific hurdles remain.

“These decision-making problems are very challenging because each independent robot in the swarm has to predict how others will behave in the future and then make its own decisions accordingly,” says Shankarachary Ragi, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at SD Mines who is leading the research. Ragi and his team are helping to develop mathematical models, or algorithms, that enable these kinds of cooperative behaviors in drones.

Decades ago, computer scientists realized they could build a virtual supercomputer by making several normal- sized computers work together in a n...

Last Edited 2/12/2019 08:11:08 AM [Comments (0)]