Swarming Robots Benefit from Starling Study

Posted 30 Jan 2008 at 16:53 UTC by steve Share This

The Swirling Brain sent us a link to a Telegraph story about a new Starling study that will benefit robot swarming technology. Previous computer models of flocking birds assumed each bird interacted with all other birds in the flock. The new study, which included accurate 3D tracking information on over 3,000 birds, reveals that each Starling tracks six or seven other Starlings, regardless of their changing distance. This explains why flocks expand and contract so quickly and accurately after predator attacks. Each bird continues to track its selected neighbors even when they spread out, allow them to quickly reassemble into a tight group. This new information gave scientists the clue they needed to solve the flocking problem in a way that should make more accurate flocking and swarming behaviors in robots possible. This research is part of the European STARFLAG project. The study itself is available onilne: Interaction Ruling Animal Collective Behaviour Depends on Topological rather than Metric Distance: Evidence from a Field Study (PDF format).

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