I mean what can't drones do? Need a foot bridge woven out of rope? Done!
A fleet of quadcopters at ETH Zurich's Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control worked together to lay out a rope made of Dyneema, which contains ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene, making it light but super strong. Using motorized spools, the quadcopters moved between two scaffolds and constructed the entire pathway on their own by weaving knots, links and braids.
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A motion capture system helped the aircraft adjust flight paths at a moment's notice. The entire system, which used computer algorithms and sent commands to drones over a wireless network, tracked each drone's position and considered the force applied to the drones as the rope was deployed.
When completed, the bridge spanned a little more than 24 feet between the two scaffolds.
You can take a closer look at the aerial construction in action, displayed at the Flying Machine Arena, a research and demonstration platform for aerial robotics.
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This demonstration revealed "for the first time that small flying machines are capable of autonomously realizing load-bearing structures at full-scale and proceeding a step further towards real-world scenarios," according to Federico Augugliaro, Ph.D. candidate at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control.
Researchers at ETH Zurich's IDSC have been exploring ways to program flying construction robots to autonomously build structures. They believe this milestone could pave the way toward a new emergence of architectural design.