Pervasive Intelligence

The Tempo-Spatiality of Drone Swarms

Sebastian Vehlken

Abstract

This article seeks to situate collective or swarm robotics (SR) on a conceptual pane which on the one hand sheds light on the peculiar form of AI which is at play in such systems, whilst on the other hand it considers possible consequences of a widespread use of SR with a focus on swarms of Unmanned Aerial Systems (Swarm UAS). The leading hypothesis of this article is that Swarm Robotics create a multifold “spatial intelligence”, ranging from the dynamic morphologies of such collectives via their robust self-organization in changing environments to representations of these environments as distributed 4D-sensor systems. As is shown on the basis of some generative examples from the field of UAS, robot swarms are imagined to literally penetrate space and control it. In contrast to classical forms of surveillance or even “sousveillance”, this procedure could be called perveillance.

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