Drones build a rope bridge that can support humans

Drones may soon be a vital part of rescue efforts as these mini flying machines have successfully build a rope bridge capable of supporting humans.

Two researchers that specializes on robotics and architecture from ETH Zurich University’s Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control and Gramazio Kohler Research have collaborated to program the quadropters to build the rope bridge.

The video shows quadrocopters autonomously assembling a rope bridge. This is part of a body of research in aerial construction, a field that addresses the construction of structures with the aid of flying machines.

In this work, a rope bridge that can support the crossing of a person is built by quadrocopters, showing 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. Except for the required anchor points at both ends of the structure, the bridge consists exclusively of tensile elements and its connections and links are entirely realized by flying machines. Spanning 7.4 m between two scaffolding structures, the bridge consists of nine rope segments for a total rope length of about 120 m and is composed of different elements, such as knots, links, and braids. The rope used for these experiments is made out of Dyneema, a material with a low weight-to-strength ratio and thus suitable for aerial construction. Of little weight (7 g per meter), a 4 mm diameter rope can sustain 1300 kg.

This autonomous drone technology have future usage for extreme rescue or even tactical military missions.

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