A team of drones has autonomously built a rope bridge, according to researchers at ETH Zurich.
Custom-built for the task, the drones were fitted with a motorized spool of rope, which enabled them to control the tension as they unspooled it.
"Spanning 7.4 meters between two scaffolding structures, the bridge consists of nine rope segments for a total rope length of about 120 meters and is composed of different elements, such as knots, links, and braid," the team says.
Aside from using metal scaffold anchoring points, the drones built the bridge with Dyneema rope.
To build the bridge, the drones first measured the gap they needed to span, communicating wirelessly with an offboard computer, which ran the algorithm and translated the commands. The drones selected the best anchor points for the rope and looped it around to create a secure knot. The computer also calculated where the bridge should be tied and braided.
The bridge, which is capable of bearing the weight of a human, is said to be ideal for aerial construction.
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