Drone Swarms: the Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful

Dyson Swarm: Rfc, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

By: Dawn M.K Zoldi

The buzz around drone swarms, multiple unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) capable of coordinating their actions to accomplish shared objectives, has created a bad image in the minds of many. Swarm” has a negative connotation, evoking images of killer bees, hornets and other things that sting, hurt and, in some cases, kill. However, swarm tech can bring a lot of goodness to bear across humanitarian efforts, search and rescue, disaster response and other positive use cases. It just makes sense: more drones equals more sensors equals more data to inform decision-making.

One company, Spectrabotics LLC, a company whose tools aggregate, integrate and analyze drone data, is combining their analytics with drone swarm tech to solve tough problems including environmental ones like hazardous materials (HAZMAT) spills. Addressing HAZMAT incidents remains a challenge because of the complexity and dynamic forces at…