3D-Printed Drone Fleet Can Form Like Voltron

July 30, 2013 | Andy Cush

DFA, in this case, stands for “Distributed Flight Array,” but it’s hard not to think “Death From Above.” The acronym refers to a fleet of partly 3D-printed drones that, among other things, have ground mobility, and can detect each other’s presence, then form into a larger, modular unit. Once together, the individual robots’ propellers work in conjunction, making for a smoother, more controlled flight than each can make on its own. Watch the bots in action above, along with some inappropriately cheesy music, in a video that debuted last month.

“The platform currently flies with either joystick input from an user or input from an external sensor system such as GPS,” Maximilian Kriegleder, one of the researchers behind the DFA, told Dezeen recently. “We are trying to close this gap and make the system completely self-contained and autonomous so that no external input is needed.”

I hear Skynet is hiring.