I thought until recently that it was established that big birds flew in V formation to save energy. It is true. But it wasn't until last year that they had instrumented birds to prove it. In fact, the birds even time their wing beats for energy savings.
The US military did a series of related experiments last year. They showed fuel savings of 5-30% for the trailing airplane if it remains in formation in the correct part of the wing tip vortex. Staying in position is hard work, so making this operational will call for some flight controls automation. But the military might do it. There are a variety of missions where two or more airplanes will fly the same route as a pair or triple.
This got me to wondering whether they will add this to the convoy experiments for trans-Atlantic crossings. This year's experiment is aimed at reducing air traffic control loads and increasing route capacity by having several aircraft use ADS-B to form up as a moderately close convoy that ATC can route like a single aircraft across the Atlantic. For the first experiment they will all be from the same airline. They will be schedule coordinated so that flights from several airports arrive for Atlantic crossing at the same time, cross as a single convoy, then split to several different destination airports. That kind of schedule coordination is much harder for flights from different airlines.
Maybe in the next experiment they will fly V formations to reduce fuel consumption.