Essex University researchers say they've created the world's smallest flying web server using a toy helicopter equipped with an 8-gram gumstix processor. Next up: military applications. By Kevin Poulsen.
The UltraSwarm project is an experiment in swarm intelligence and wireless cluster computing that might one day spawn military surveillance applications. In one scenario, a flock of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, with video cameras could take in a hostile landscape from a variety of angles and process the image locally, in the sky. (...)
"We'll have a flock of helicopters; they will be autonomous individually and as a swarm, and they will be gathering and processing visual data in distributed way," says Owen Holland, project director and deputy head of the university's computer science department. (...)
In March (2005), Brooklyn-based defense contractor Atair Aerospace announced the first successful demonstration of flocking and swarming techniques in a UAV, after dropping five computer-guided Onyx parafoil gliders in an experiment funded by the U.S. Army. The company says the parafoils can be released from 35,000 feet, autonomously glide as a flock for 30 miles, then land together within 150 feet of a preprogrammed target. The system is designed to air-drop troop supplies with once-unachievable precision.
by Kevin Poulsen 01Jun05