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Video update: Flying robots build a 6-meter tower


January 1, 2012

France's FRAC Center is hosting an exhibition built entirely by flying robots

France's FRAC Center is hosting an exhibition built entirely by flying robots

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We were pretty impressed by the potential of these flying robots when we first covered this story in late November. Now the FRAC Centre in Orléans, France has released a video of the robot swarm in action during its current exhibition. Titled "Flight Assembled Architecture," the live installation showcases a fleet of quadrocopters building a six meter-high tower made up of 1,500 prefabricated polystyrene foam modules.

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 exhibition was developed by Swiss architect Gramazio & Kohler and Italian robot designer Raffaello D'Andrea.

Check out the FRAC Centre's exhibition in the video below.

Flight Assembled Architecture/Architectures volantes from FRAC Centre on Vimeo.

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

Love it!

Michael Taylor

To me the message of this demonstration is much the same as Discovery Channel\'s \"how it is made\" show which features a lot of machine-made production techniques. The point of that show, to me, is look at how much production can be done so well by machine, if one is clever enough designing the machines. The quad copters move and hover really well, so long as they are inside that is. Once they get outside into the wind and rain, I don\'t foresee robots like this building much practical structure. In CIM we have a phrase, \"lights out production\", which means turn off the lights and walk away from the factory, and when you come back in the morning you\'ll be greeted by mounds of machine-made finished product. Or, you might get a phone call at 2am from the robot overseer telling you a carriage had jammed and can you please come troubleshoot? Straightaway?


Great work by machnes

Malik AbdulRazak

I wouldn\'t call it great because the swarm didn\'t really work like a swarm. Slow and tedious process. When you make ALL OF THEM do the task at hand together - then it\'ll be cool and progressive. :P

Renārs Grebežs

@Grunchy - A reasonable amount of wind turbulence compensation per craft and object weight is simply a math problem. Automated flying vehicles of all types (drones, unpiloted helicopters, etc.) already have this. Smaller drones can have it too. In fact, wind issues can be eliminated completely if a full circumference windshield for the current layer (floor) is steadily risen to each successive layer as it is constructed.

Rain and water resistance is purely a matter of constructing the craft to be waterproof and also modifying the flight algorithms to handle downward and sheer rain forces.

No... not easy, but certainly not impossible. After all, isn\'t that what engineering is all about; the study and application of techniques to construct and do what you want done in specific or variable contexts? I imagine that one of the future areas of research will be exactly the operation and required design considerations for operation of these craft in less than perfect weather conditions.


SkyNet was able to boost its power incrementally by sending agents backwards in time to develop the very technology upon which its existence was based. The innumerable cycles of time exchange which were conducted can never be analyzed because of unobservable quantum entanglement processes used to maintain and expand the original sub-picosecond-scale time loop. Similarly, the vast quantities of electrical power used during the cycling process could not be billed or even measured, because all historic traces of those events were absorbed as a side effect of tachyon decay.

The Skynet agent-bots were carefully concealed beneath life-size avatar projections such as the \"students\" shown in this video. They did technical work and, more importantly, gradually persuaded humans in the target time period that such research and development was in their best interests - an astonishing achievement under the circumstances.


Slow and tedious process may not b impressive, but the impressive part of this whole thing is dat no matter how long it takes, they CAN do it.

Chan Boriratrit

cool, great job with the current technology,

the borg would be proud

tampa florida

Somebody check on ralph.d ...something\'s gone horribly wrong with his controller.


For those of you who say that it is a slow and tedious process, yes it is, but only with that number of robots. If they had 100x as many, the work would go fast. The reason why is is so slow is because they have to go back and get charged very often.


You have to think out of the box, I can see how it would be used. Building material would have to be designed around what the finished product could do. Again, like the automobile it would be improved as time goes by. Let us see what we have here, a wall build to this height with no side support. Imagine on a control building site and some form of bonding fixer applied, from the start, I can see very big saving on costs, time and safety. Gerard.

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