Parrot recently announced the Disco-AG, designed for users who plan on flying drones for profit rather than fun. Designed for the agriculture market, this drone flies a preprogrammed path over farmland recording details that can be analyzed once the drone lands.
The Disco-AG is a single drone that will fly a fixed flight path and then land. While it’s possible to have a pair flying in adjacent fields, they would not communicate with each other and could potentially collide (there are no collision avoidance sensors on the drones, either). Using a swarm of drones would be an efficient way to quickly map a larger area that a single drone would be incapable of handling…and this is where swarm robotics comes into play.
Swarming robots is not a new idea, but you need at least two to do something, and that costs twice as much as one. Going with small and low-cost robots is one way of doing research on a budget. That was the idea behind the Kilobot.