Someday explorers and rescuers could carry quadcopters not just to survey but to build bridges literally on the fly. Researchers at ETH Zurich were able to successfully demonstrate a system of autonomous quadcopters that can create a usable rope bridge with minimal human intervention.
Headed by Federico Augugliaro and Prof. Raffaello D’Andrea, the researchers coded programs that allow them to “simulate, sequence, and evaluate the structure before building.” Once satisfied with their model, all they need to do is build the scaffolding or anchor points on each end of the planned bridge, measure the bridge’s openings and then enter those numbers into their software. The computer then gives the orders to the quadcopters, which are each equipped with a motorized spool to deploy the rope.
Head to ETH Zurich’s website for more on the project.