To demonstrate the capabilities of the drones, the researchers had them use foam and special lightweight cement to build structures between 0.18 meters and 2.05 meters high. They were built to within 5 millimeters of the original plan.
Then, to show that the system could work on more complex formations, the team used drone light to create a time-lapse sequence of light trails while simulating the creation of a tall dome-like structure. Their work is described in the article in Nature today.
Mirko Kovacs, director of Imperial College London’s Aerial Robotics Laboratory, 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 that would normally require expensive scaffolding.