Christ on a carousel, now robots that can teach themselves how to fly, says science. From MIT’s Technology Review:
The individual robots dock together at random, bound by magnets. But the robots doesn’t simply fly in a locked positions with the others. They form a network, exchanging sensor information so that each robot can figure out how much thrust is needed (based on its place in the system) for the whole array to take off.
Once the system is hovering, the robotic modules can correct for disturbances, based on their place in the configuration and the system’s overall motion. When the robot is done flying, it breaks apart and each robot falls harmless to the ground.