Unfortunately, when we report on drone swarms, it’s typically about a new way to kill or destroy. But here’s a drone swarm designed to save lives.
The Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands calls this new type of swarm Sniffy Bug. The drones are trained to search for chemical leaks in cluttered environments, using algorithms inspired by insect behavior.
Basically what the drones do is move a sensor through a suspect area and search for the highest concentrations of gas. When the drones gather in one particular spot, the leak has likely been found. This kind of work can be dangerous and time-consuming for humans. But Sniffy Bug appears to work quite quickly.
Sniffy Bug uses the tiny Crazyflie quadcopters equipped with laser range sensors and a camera to avoid obstacles. No need for GPS since they’re typically deployed inside. And of course, they also carry a sensitive gas detector.