The idea of horde/cloud robots is not exactly new. I can remember positing the notion of doing building surveys by taking along a suitcase full of micro robots, letting a cloud of them loose in the building and plotting their search-n-hit data as a 3D model on your laptop. Land and site surveys too. Don't tell the client that it takes ten minutes and charge 'em a mint.
Now our own dear old national arms dealer BAE has been given $38m by the US army to develop crawling and flying mini-droids says The Register , which can creep into caves, no-go urban areas and practically anywhere else, whence they report back. Apart from obvious civilian uses, especially for private eyes specializing in domestics, there is surely a remote site-supervision application here.
Already it is being suggested that miniature RFI tags should be injected beneath the sub-cutaneous tissues of site workers and super-glued in unobtrusive positions on site equipment in order to keep track of them. Pubs, backs of lorries crossing the Channel, etc. The knowledge that a droid has probably just furled its wings, opened a beady webcam eye and was lurking somewhere in the steelwork overhead would really get those site operatives going. Wouldn't it? And, of course, those CAD monkeys downloading unsuitable material in the office.