Birds in V formations are frequently observed and two main hypothesis have emerged in the biology/ornithology literature to explain this particular geometry: (i) it offers aerodynamic advantages and (ii) it is used to improve visual communication. Both explanations require a bird to track its predecessor. Observations of flocks suggest that this task is difficult for birds in large formations. In this paper, we explain this phenomenon using a simple bird model and systems theory. This result has implications for the coordinated control of unmanned aerial vehicles. In particular, predecessor-following is an inherently poor strategy for formation flight.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control|
|State||Published - Dec 1 2002|