Flying drones that closely resemble beautiful butterflies have impressive coordinated flying skills.

The eMotionButterflies combine "the ultralight construction of artificial insects with coordinated flying [behavior]," the company Festo reported.

Ten cameras installed in the area where the drone butterflies were set loose used infrared markers, and transmitted positioning data to a central master computer to coordinate the robots' flight. This type of guidance and monitoring system could be extremely useful in factories.

"Flying is not only one of mankind's oldest dreams, but also a recurring theme in the Bionic Learning Network. In association with universities, institutes and development firms, for years now Festo has been developing research platforms whose basic technical principles are derived from nature," the company stated.

The robots boast incredibly small power units, making them extremely lightweight and allowing their flight to closely resemble that of living butterflies.

"Although the first bionic flying objects developed by Festo were filled with helium, the SmartBird, with its beating wings, was able to provide the necessary uplift by itself. As a result, the developers technically implemented the flight of the dragonfly with the BionicOpter and, with the eMotionSpheres, showed how several autonomous flying objects can move in an enclosed space without colliding. With the eMotionButterflies, Festo now combines the ultralight construction of artificial insects with coordinated flying [behavior] in a collective," the company stated.