Ted Macdonald and his colleagues at the Georgia Robotics and Intelligent Systems Lab, have taught a bunch of robots to align themselves to form a landing platform for a quadrotor*.
According to the researchers, the robots do not need to communicate with each other directly. But they require knowledge of the position of their fellow robots.
Initially, a leader robot starts on a predefined path. The followers bots are instructed to follow the leader. These bots form different formations around the leader. Meanwhile, the quadrotor is told to track the swarm robots. When the bots create a tight box formation, the quadrotor lands.
When robots revolt in near future, they will certainly make use of this “makeshift” platform to call in reinforcements!
*Quadrotor = an aircraft that is lifted and propelled by four rotors.