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Quadrotors Build a Building

by Paul Strauss

Who’d have thought that flying robots could someday create buildings? But as crazy as it sounds, our quadrotor-loving friends over at the Swiss Federal Institute Institute of Technology already have proven it’s possible.


The team programmed a group of their versatile flying quadrocopters to construct a 19+ foot-tall structure autonomously, with no human involvement whatsoever. Just a roomful of bricks, and a small army of flying robots.

While they still don’t know how to apply mortar between bricks, the system proves that robots can work in concert to build precise structures, without incident or error. And given physical limitations of the ‘bots, these small flying machines are only lifting lightweight (appx. 1 lb.) foam “bricks” for their building.

For the foreseeable future, these flying robots won’t be stealing any construction jobs, but it is possible that similar technology could someday improve worksite safety, leaving some of the more difficult and dangerous tasks to robots, or robotic assistants. If nothing else, they could probably beat us at a game of foam brick Tetris.

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