The software and hardware needed to co-ordinate a team of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can communicate and work toward a common goal have recently been developed by KAUST researchers.
"Giving UAVs more autonomy makes them an even more valuable resource," says Mohamed Abdelkader, who worked on the project with his colleagues under the guidance of Jeff Shamma.
"Monitoring the progress of a drone sent out on a specific task is far easier than remote-piloting one yourself.
A team of drones that can communicate among themselves provides a tool that could be used widely, for example, to improve security or capture images simultaneously over a large area."
The researchers trialed a capture the flag game scenario, whereby a team of defender drones worked together within a defined area to intercept an intruder drone and prevent it from reaching a specific place.
To give the game more authenticity, and to check if their algorithms would work under unpredictable conditions, the intruder drone was remote-piloted by a researcher.