Robotics developers at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich's Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control have built autonomous robots that drive, dock with their peers on the ground, then fly into the air in coordinated swarms....all of this without human direction. In fact, the vehicles can drive around on the ground as individual, autonomous units, but "it is not until they assemble that they are able to fly," according to the researchers:
These modules are organized as distributed computational units with minimal sensory input. This is a complex system that is rich in dynamics with much room to explore various strategies of distributed estimation and control.More about the little buggers here, on the researchers' project website.
Report on the project here, at Wired Danger Room.
How it all works, in an infographic that follows...