To demonstrate the drones’ capabilities, the researchers had them use foam and a special lightweight form of cement to build structures ranging in height from 0.18 meters to 2.05 meters. They were constructed to within 5 millimeters of the original blueprint.
Then to show that the system could work on more complex formations, the team used the lights on the drones to create a time-lapse sequence of a light trail while simulating creating a tall dome-like structure. Their work is described in a paper in Nature Today.
Mirko Kovac, director of the Aerial Robotics Laboratory at Imperial College London, who led the research, says the method could be used to build buildings in the Arctic or even on Mars, or simply to help repair tall buildings. which normally require expensive scaffolding.