Development

Drones as Construction Workers? by Business Insider

File Type: Free Content, Article
Release Date: June 2014
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construction site at dusk

Developers already are using drones to survey and photograph construction sites. Now, according to “These Drones Could Be the Construction Crews of the Future” by Dylan Love in the June 13 issue of Business Insider, scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich have developed drones that can weave cord into rope bridges.

The article and accompanying videos describe how these quadrucopter drones, equipped with spools of plastic cable that run out behind them as they fly, can be positioned and directed autonomously by a central computer fitted with a camera. To loop cables around each other, for example, the computer directs two drones to fly through certain points at exact times. Thus a fleet of drones “can tie complicated knots and form large, regularly repeating patterns strung between fixed structures,” according to “Spider-drones Weave High-rise Structures out of Cables” by Hal Hodson in the November 8, 2013, issue of NewScientist.

“Flying machines have an unlimited workspace — they can go anywhere, says Federico Augugliaro, who is leading the robotics side of ETH's Aerial Construction project. There is no physical connection with the ground, so they can move construction elements to any location, and fly in and around existing structures."