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This article was published on September 21, 2015

Flying spiders! Watch these drones autonomously build a rope bridge that can support a person

Ben Woods
Story by

Ben Woods

Europe Editor

Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional online poker player. You can contact him via Twitter or on Google+.

While the current crop of drones are used for a wide-range of tasks, it’s the next generation that can interact with each other and act autonomously that will prove utterly amazing (or terrifying, depending on your stance).

The two drones in the video above are part of a joint project between the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control and Gramazio Kohler Research and are capable of building a 7.4-metre rope bridge that can support the weight of a person walking across it. And they do it without any manual control.

To deliver the rope, the drones have been modified in a few ways – primarily the addition of a motorized spool and plastic tube guides to ensure the rope doesn’t get caught in the rotors. The bridge-building algorithm is run on a separate computer and then transferred across to the drones, cutting down on on-board processing requirements.

Amazing or terrifying? Let us know below!