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Swarming quadrocopters complete trial recon mission for Japanese police (video)

Sharif Sakr

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Formation-flying quadrocopters have already given us hours of entertainment, but now they've also accomplished something serious. Earlier this month, mini choppers developed at Japan's robot-loving Chiba University assisted in an emergency drill that simulated an explosion at a chemical plant. Four machines and a host computer (shown off after the break) used spherical markers, image processing and a heck of a lot of math to autonomously scan the site for survivors. The researchers claim the exercise went "very well" and that the local police force would like to "introduce this system" for genuine reconnaissance. That could include monitoring volcanic eruptions or inspecting power lines, but alas there's no mention yet of using quadrocopter swarms to sneak up on yakuza.

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