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China Reports Technology Breakthrough on Communication Within Drone Swarms

People’s Daily recently reported on a technological advancement in using light (rather than wireless communication) to convey information among drones within a drone swarm.

To achieve efficient collaborative work, drones in a cluster (or swarm) need to be able to “communicate” closely. However, current drone swarms rely mainly on wireless communication, which has obvious electromagnetic characteristics. This makes drone swarms easy to identify and susceptible to electromagnetic interference.

A research team at the Northwestern Polytechnical University reported a technological breakthrough by imitating the communication method of fireflies. They utilized lighting equipment on one drone to emit light signals and employed photodetectors on another drone to capture these signals and perform intelligent analysis. This enables collaborative flight among drones. The transmission of light signals is not affected by electromagnetic interference. Additionally, the energy requirement to emit light is low and generates almost no heat, making it suitable for small drones that have limited amounts of energy.

Source: People’s Daily, May 15, 2024