Don’t fret! This swarm is just here to build some structures.
Experts from the Imperial College of London have developed a new kind of drone that can actually print 3D materials while flying in mid-air. The flying robots were created with the collective building methods of bees and wasps in mind.
These drones make up a system called Aerial Additive Manufacturing (Aerial-AM), where all of them work together to create something. There are two different kinds of robots in the said system.
The first is called BuilDrones and is in charge of depositing materials during their flight. The second kind is called ScanDrones which measures the BuilDrones’ output and directs them to what they would do next.
The researchers, led by professor Mirko Kovac of the college’s Department of Aeronautics, believe that the Aerial-AM’s in-flight 3D printing capabilities will be of great use for the construction industry.
These drones will be perfect for building in difficult-to-access areas, such as tall buildings or even locations that got devastated by natural disasters. “We’ve proved the concept that drones can work autonomously and in tandem to construct and repair buildings, at least in the lab. This scalable solution could help construction and repair in difficult-to-reach areas, like tall buildings,” professor Kovac stated.
Image credit: Yusuf Furkan KAYA, Aerial Robotics Laboratory of Imperial College London