Conference paper

Self-organization in bird flight formations using diffusion adaptation

Flocks of birds self-organize into V-formations when they need to travel long distances. It has been shown that this formation allows the birds to save energy, by taking advantage of the upwash generated by the neighboring birds. In this work we use a simple model for the upwash generated by a flying bird, and show that a flock of birds can self-organize into a V-formation if every bird were to employ a distributed LMS algorithm, known as diffusion LMS. The algorithm requires the birds to obtain measurements of the upwash, and also to communicate with neighboring birds. The result has interesting implications. First, a simple diffusion LMS-based algorithm can account for the self-organization of birds. The algorithm is fully distributed and runs in real time. Second, that birds can self-organize based on the air pressures generated by the other birds. Third, that some form of communication among birds is crucial to achieve the flight formation.


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