Can drone swarms fly indoors without bumping into each other?

They have mesmerized us umpteen times with their beautiful, synchronized movements in the open night skies. But can drone swarms fly indoors, avoiding obstacles and without hitting each other?

One of the reasons you haven’t seen swarms being used more widely, apart from drone light shows, is because of risk of gridlock within the swarm. As Dario Floreano, a professor at EPFL, one of two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, explains:

In a drone swarm, when one drone changes its trajectory to avoid an obstacle, its neighbors automatically synchronize their movements accordingly. But that often causes the swarm to slow down, generates gridlock within the swarm, or even leads to collisions.

To get around this problem, researchers at EPFL’s Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) have developed a new predictive control model for drone swarms. In this system, drones not only react to other flying robots in a swarm, but they also anticipate their own future movements and…