British and Swiss scientists turned a quadcopter into a 3D construction printer

By: Maksim Panasovskyi | 23.09.2022, 20:00
British and Swiss scientists turned a quadcopter into a 3D construction printer

Experts from Imperial College London and the Empa Institute in Switzerland have created a construction 3D printer based on an unmanned aerial vehicle.

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The scientists are confident that their new development will be useful for building and repairing buildings in hard-to-reach places. Builders will be able to use drones without the need for helicopters, cranes and other equipment. During the development of the machine, specialists were inspired by bees, which can create hives at great heights.

The system consists of two unmanned aerial vehicles. The BuilDrones UAVs are responsible for construction, while the ScanDrones monitor the progress of the work. They can digitize the site and adjust the BuilDrones during construction. The drones support manual and automatic control modes.

BuilDrones and ScanDrones were tested in laboratory conditions. During the test, the drones were able to build a "building" more than 2 meters high out of assembly foam and an 18 cm high column out of a material that resembles cement. The number of layers of laid material was 72 and 28 respectively. ScanDrones almost perfectly controlled the construction. The deviation from the drawing was about 5 mm.

Mirko Kovac, head of the project, said that their technology is scalable and will be able to work in the future not only in laboratory conditions. Moreover, the scientists believe their development will be able to form the basis of building technology on Mars.

Source: MIT Technology Review