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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

Drone Light Shows Look Cool, but How Do They Work?


A light show performed by drones.

Intel and Warner Brothers celebrated the release of the movie Wonder Woman for home entertainment last September with the help of 300 drones.

Credit: PC Magazine

Scientists are exploring multi-robot systems technology, with University of Southern California professor Nora Ayanian noting her research involves developing "distributed planning and control foundations that are broadly applicable across all aspects of multi-robot systems or mobile sensor networks."

Ayanian's work concentrates on end-to-end solutions for multirobot coordination, which start from high-level specifications and deliver code for individual units in the system.

Meanwhile, Oregon State University's Shauharda Khadka has developed autonomous units that have learned to navigate an environment to track rewards that shift location rapidly and unpredictably. Khadka says his robot swarm learned to explore its environment to track the reward, exploit the reward when it locates the reward, and resumes exploration when its location changed.

Also making strides is the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory's Michael W. Otte, whose algorithm taps distributed systems, graph theory, probability theory, and auctions to enable robot teams to pool resources and split up tasks to solve common problems.

From PC Magazine
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