Researchers in California believe they have broken a new record after one person managed to control an army of swarming drones all at the same time.
According to the Naval Postgraduate School in California, this is the first time one controller has been able to fly 50 drones at the same time.
“To our knowledge, this is a world record for the number of UAVs under single operator control, by quite a long way,” says project lead Kevin Jones told the New Scientist.
Researchers said the main point of the exercise is to further develop our ability to fly multiple UAVs without needing too many controllers.
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The tech underlying this feat is similar to the age-old game of follow the leader.
One drone -- the lead -- controls the army by communicating through high-powered Wi-Fi.
A range of swarming algorithms can also control the flight pattern, researchers explained, to suit the aim of the mission.
In search and rescue missions for example, the algorithm could alter the flight pattern to mimic foraging bees, the New Scientist reports.
Explaining how the various modes could work, Jones said: "Most of the swarming operations are things like ‘follow-me’ mode, where one or more UAVs follow a leader around the sky.”
“The swarm behaviour looks quite random as the aircraft move around the sky trying to optimally search an area in the shortest amount of time,” he added.
Jones and his team used custom-built Zephyr drones for the experiment, which they estimate to cost $2000 (£1300) each.