Drones are an extremely impressive piece of technology. From spray painting billboards to firing handguns, it seems each day drones are being programmed to do something new. Today, that new task involves building an actual rope bridge that can be walked on. Although, this new feat is equally remarkable as it is terrifying.
Zurich’s Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control and Gramazio Kohler Research have created the project, called “Aerial Construction.” The ultimate goal is to “investigate and develop methods and techniques for robotic aerial construction.” Clearly, this project has tremendous implications for the future and offers a significant opportunity for new, innovative construction methods.
The process and final result, which can be seen in the video below, is extremely impressive. In the video, one can see flying quadrocopters assemble a completely functional, 7.4-meter long bridge between two structures that is strong enough to withhold an individual’s weight. The drones are equipped with a motorized reel that allows for control over the tension provided on the rope, which makes the entire process possible.
The drones were able to accomplish this project autonomously. The only instructions they received were wirelessly from a computer that was calculating the correct flight paths that should be taken. The only two areas that the drones cannot complete are: they cannot build the structures that the ropes attach to and the measurements had to be manually taken by the researchers.
The biggest obstacle for this project was determining the force that the rope applied on the drones in order to maintain that the drones were operating and flying like they were intended to. This area of research could prove crucial for the future of the construction industry. It might not be long before you see construction workers working side by side with drones or being replaced altogether by these rapidly evolving, flying gadgets.