Flying robots to build a 6-meter tower


November 28, 2011

France's FRAC Center will be hosting an exhibition to be built entirely by flying robots (image: Raffaello D'Andrea)

France's FRAC Center will be hosting an exhibition to be built entirely by flying robots (image: Raffaello D'Andrea)

Image Gallery (7 images)

The FRAC Centre in Orléans, France will for the first time host an exhibition to be built entirely by flying robots. Titled "Flight Assembled Architecture," the six meter-high tower will be made up of 1,500 prefabricated polystyrene foam modules. The exhibition has been developed by Swiss architect Gramazio & Kohler and Italian robot designer Raffaello D'Andrea, to inspire new methods of thinking about architecture as a "physical process of dynamic formation."

The installation involves a fleet of quadrocopters that are programmed to interact, lift, transport and assemble the final tower, all the time receiving commands wirelessly from a local control room. The tower, which will boast a height of 6 meters (19.7 feet) and a diameter of 3.5 meters (11.5 feet), will be constructed within a 10 x 10 x 10 meter (32.8 x 32.8 x 32.8 foot) airspace, in which up to 50 vehicles can be tracked simultaneously at a rate of 370 frames per second with millimeter accuracy. This "Flying Machine Arena" was developed by D'Andrea, and features a state-of-the-art motion capture system.

Each quadrocopter is fitted with custom electronics and onboard sensors to allow for precision vehicle control, whilst also providing the opportunity for pre-programmed flight paths, which could include arcs and spirals. Furthermore, the fleet management technology helps avoid collisions by taking over when the flying robots get too close to each other. The same technology is also used for automating routine take-offs, landings and vehicle calibration and charging.

The Flight Assembled Architecture exhibition will be on display at the FRAC Centre from December 2 through to February 19, 2012.

Check out D'Andrea's Flying Machine Arena and the impressive quadrocopter moves in the video below.

Source: Dezeen

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema. All articles by Bridget Borgobello

What would you do with your own swarm?

Carlos Grados

That video at the end was great to watch and really shows what is possible using quadrocopters in a choreographed pattern of movement. I look forward to seeing what others can do with these quadrocopters.


Don\'t people watch The Terminator or The Matrix? We are going to be the death of ourselves when the machines go sentient.


Yes, Firehawk70, it is not too much of a stretch of the imagination to see these as a \'multiple drone attack\', with individual machines switching places to take up the attack, faster than one can aim at the first one....

Graeme Harrison

Will the pieces lock together? What if it falls down before it\'s completed? Will the system be able to cleanup the mess and recover?

The pictures make me want to say JENGA!

Gregg Eshelman

That was cool! I got a remote controlled helicopter for Christmas a few years back. I could barely get the thing hover. 50 helicopters, 370 frames per second and millimeter accuracy. These guys have done a lot of work. I wonder what kind of computer system they have behind this. They are some really talented developers. Well done


If only we have a non polluting and highly efficient drive and power systems that would make it scalable for real life building applications...

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