An image from a video by the COLLMOT Robotic Research Project shows a group of drones flying autonomously across a field. COLLMOT Robotic Research Project
Can drones, the small unmanned aircraft that are at the forefront of fields from warfare to commercial delivery systems, fly without human intervention? A team of Hungarian researchers answers yes, having created 10 drones that self-organize as they move through the air.
The team based its creation on birds such as pigeons, which fly in tight bunches while making adjustments and decisions. They fitted quadcopters — drones with four rotors — with GPS, processors and radios that allow them to navigate in formation or while following a leader.
Like “gregarious animals” such as birds and fish, the flock of drones follows rules of collective motion, says Tamas Vicsek, a physicist who teaches at Budapest’s Eötvös Loránd University. “We came to the conclusion that one of the best ways to understand how animals move together is to build robots — flying robots.”
And like those animals, the drone flock was tested as it flew around in open fields, not in a controlled indoor test environment, as Nature’s Ed Yong reports.
The drones can negotiate tricky paths, such as when their route becomes tightly confined. When that happens, some of them hover in place to wait their turn. And it’s all done without a central computer or controlling device, the researchers say. Instead, they use “flocking algorithms,” says Gabor Vasarhelyi, who led the robotics phase of the project.
“Drones are most commonly associated with war, terrorism, and cyberattacks, but drones can be used in more peaceful civil applications as well,” Vasarhelyi says. “With a flock of drones, you can create a self-organized monitoring system from the air, or you can even deliver food or mail.”
Here in the U.S., drones are expected to someday buzz around carrying out commercial tasks — but not before the Federal Aviation Administration issues new regulations governing such activity. As we’ve reported before, Amazon is developing a drone delivery system.
The flock of drones also reminded us of an amazing set of videos that were highlighted on PetaPixel last month, in which Rhode Island School of Design artist Dennis Hlynsky illustrated the flight paths of dozens of birds in urban settings.
Hlynsky used a video-editing technique that’s similar to one increasingly used in sports TV to make the flying birds’ images linger and create streaming patterns.
The Juneau Assembly has appointed Dr. Bob Urata and Lance Stevens to the nine-member Bartlett Regional Hospital board. Urata is a physician with a longtime practice. Stevens is a former president of the Juneau Chamber of Commerce.
The Juneau Access Project envisions 50 more miles of road up Lynn Canal to a ferry terminal closer to the road system. It has divided the Juneau community for decades and faces significant opposition from other southeast cities including Haines and Skagway. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker pulled the plug on the $574 million project last month.
The Juneau Assembly heard more than 90 minutes of testimony from dozens of residents including merchants, social workers and homeless people themselves who all agreed on one thing: Juneau has a serious homeless problem. But speakers had radically different viewpoints.
In January, Alaska's Energy Desk is celebrating the anniversary of the publication of John McPhee's 1977 book "Coming into the Country." On Jan. 24, 2017, Willie Hensley
In January, Alaska’s Energy Desk is celebrating the anniversary of the publication of John McPhee’s 1977 book “Coming into the Country.” On Jan. 24, 2017, Willie Hensley and other guests featured in the book will join us on stage as we discuss the Alaska of the 1970s and how the past (and the book) shaped the state today.
A simultaneous live forum in Anchorage will feature Pat Pourchot and other guests. Studios will be linked so audiences can participate in both discussions.
Alaska is still facing a yawning, multi-billion dollar gap between what it spends what it raises in revenue, despite billions in budget cuts and two years of policymakers debating how
Alaska is still facing a yawning, multi-billion dollar gap between what it spends what it raises in revenue, despite billions in budget cuts and two years of policymakers debating how to keep the state solvent.
Join us Wednesday at KTOO for Forum@360 as Professor Emeritus Gunnar Knapp of the Institute of Social and Economic Research and Cliff Groh of Alaska Common Ground return to discuss Alaska’s fiscal crisis.
Doors open at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday and the one-hour show begins at 5 p.m.
Join us for the ever growing annual KTOO and Taku Fisheries Seafood Festival with more than a dozen halibut, salmon and rockfish dishes to choose from, a variety of desserts,
Join us for the ever growing annual KTOO and Taku Fisheries Seafood Festival with more than a dozen halibut, salmon and rockfish dishes to choose from, a variety of desserts, live music from the Rob Cohen Jazz Group and a silent auction.
The seafood was generously donated by Taku Fisheries and will be prepared by the following participating restaurants:
The Rookery Café
The Coconut Thai Cuisine
TK Maquire’s at the Prospector
V’s Cellar Door
Heritage Coffee Roasting Company
All food is included in the ticket prize. No-host bar service provided by Salt Restaurant.
The annual KTOO & Taku Fisheries Seafood Festival is KTOO’s major fundraiser, and all proceeds from tickets sales and the silent auction benefit KTOO.
The annual tutored beer tasting by Alaskan Brewing Company at 5 p.m. is the kick-off to the 2017 KTOO and Taku Fisheries Seafood Festival. Your opportunity to sample some of the Alaskan Brewing Companies finest beers, to taste some of their new varieties and to learn about the magic behind their unique flavors and award winning brews. After the tutored beer tasting, you are welcome to stay on for the Seafood Festival which starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are sold separately. Get your tickets for the beer tasting and the Seafood Festival here, and join us for a night of food, drink and dancing to raise funds for public media in Juneau!
MudroomsReal people. real stories. Live, on stage. “Mudrooms” is a community-powered monthly event in Juneau, where real people tell real stories, live. Anchorage has “Arctic Entries”. In Juneau, we’re just as sophisticated – just a little muddier. Mudrooms’ creators are Amanda Compton and Alida Bus. Audio production by Marc Wheeler.
Focus On Community“Focus on Community” is an hour long, public affairs program hosted by different volunteer, community members each week. The format ranges from in-studio discussions, to live call-ins. Topics vary from peace initiatives to mental health problems to hotly debated town issues. Any and all community members are invited to present a show idea and work with us to bring it the air.
Telling Tales with Ms. GEach week, host, Ms.G, reads a selection of writing based around a given theme. Audio of her show is available the following day here on our website.