DRONES BUILDING A ROPE BRIDGE

Made at the ETH Zurich Flying Machine Arena in Switzerland, the bridge joins two scaffolds, and is the first full-scale load-bearing structure autonomously built by flying machines. The feat represents one more step in the field of robotic aerial construction.

Every knot and braid in the 7.4 meter (just over 24 feet) bridge was tied by the UAVs using Dyneema rope. The material has a low weight-to-strength ratio that makes it pretty great for aerial construction uses.

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The project was developed at the Flying Machine Arena [4], a research and demonstration platform for aerial robotics. The arena is equipped with a motion capture system that provides vehicle position and attitude measurements for the small custom quadrocopters. An offboard computer runs the algorithms and sends commands out to the flying machines via a customized wireless infrastructure.

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Before construction begins, the location of the scaffolding is measured and input to the system. Once the anchor point locations for the rope are known, all the connections and links of the bridge’s primary and bracing sections are — without human intervention — autonomously woven and secured into place by the quadrocopters, which are each equipped with a motorized spool that allows them to control the tension of the rope.

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It’s quite an amazing feat if you think about it….Yes it’s a long way away from being implemented in the real world, but what MY brain is thinking about is the 3D printing possibilities, where you can send your drones in and they can print your product on large scale without having to have one enormous rig set up….

Let’s keep an eye on this….

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