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Watch these drones build a rope bridge autonomously [VIDEO]

A Swiss research project is attempting to push the limits of robotic aerial construction.


September 24, 2015
by PLANT Staff

Flying quadcopters weave a rope bridge. PHOTO: ETH Zurich, Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control

Flying quadcopters weave a rope bridge. PHOTO: ETH Zurich, Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control

ZURICH — A research project in Switzerland is working to develop methods and techniques for robotic aerial construction, and so far, the results are pretty incredible.

The project, called “Aerial Construction,” is a joint effort between Zurich’s Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control and Gramazio Research, which hope to bring drones to a whole new level of usability.

As you’ll see in the video below, flying quadcopters use super-strong Dyneema rope to build an actual, functional 7.4 metre-long bridge that’s strong enough to withstand a person’s weight. The drones build the bridge autonomously, receiving commands wirelessly from a computer running an algorithm that calculates the correct flying trajectories.

There’s only two things the drones can’t do: they can’t build the scaffolding at either ends of the bridge and the measurement must be done manually by the research.

The drones are equipped with a motorized spool, which allows them to control the rope’s tension. The forces that the rope exerts on the drones were also taken into consideration to ensure they fly how they’re supposed to.

Check out the amazing video below.

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