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  • by D55

Watch Autonomous Drones Build a Rope Bridge!

The future is going to be amazing. The Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control (IDSC) at ETH Zurich, Switzerland is at it once again and their drone tech never ceases to amaze me. Drone swarm technology can already do amazing things like throwing and catching a ball but thats all fun in games compared to building a rope bridge that can support the weight of a human being! Except for the two anchor points, the bridge consists entirely of tensile elements and its links and connections are entirely constructed by the autonomous drones.

The small custom quadcopters can control the tension on the rope during deployment with a motorized spool of of Dyneema, a material with a low weight-to-strength ratio. The assembly of the bridge is performed between two scaffolding structures spanning 7.4m inside IDSC's Flying Machine Arena. The arena has a motion capture system that provides the position and attitude measurements of the quadcopters. These measurements are fed into a computer running algorithms and commands are then sent wirelessly to the drones. In other words magic.

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