These Drones Actually Built A Working Rope Bridge [Watch]

Making Quadrocopter History One Knot At A Time

Swiss researchers have fitted 3 custom made quadcopter drones with spools of rope, and used them to build the first ever full scale rope bridge.  This moves drones forward one more step in the evolution of robotic and aerial construction.

A series of computational tools were developed for this project that allowed simulation, sequencing, and structural evaluation of the bridge even before it was built.  Hey, it won’t hold a truck, but just imagine the possibilities!

Watch these drones in action below!

Using quadrocopters and some rope, researchers have woven together a bridge strong enough to walk across. Made at the ETH Zurich Flying Machine Arena in Switzerland, the bridge joins two scaffolds, and is the first full-scale load-bearing structure autonomously built by flying machines. The feat represents one more step in the field of robotic aerial construction.Aerial Construction A collaboration between the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control and Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich, 2015. The rope bridge is strong enough to walk across.

Except for the metal scaffolding at either end of the structure, the bridge itself consists exclusively of Dyneema rope, a tensile material with a low weight-to-strength ratio that makes it ideal for aerial construction. Weighing just 7 grams per meter, a 4 mm diameter Dyneema rope can sustain up to 1300 kg. The 7.4 m long bridge uses various rope techniques – knots, links and braids  – and has a total rope length of about 120 m.

How it works

The project was developed at the Flying Machine Arena, a research and demonstration platform for aerial robotics. The arena is equipped with a motion capture system that provides vehicle position and attitude measurements for the small custom quadrocopters. An offboard computer runs the algorithms and sends commands out to the flying machines via a customized wireless infrastructure.

Before construction begins, the location of the scaffolding is measured and input to the system. Once the anchor point locations for the rope are known, all the connections and links of the bridge’s primary and bracing sections are — without human intervention — autonomously woven and secured into place by the quadrocopters, which are each equipped with a motorized spool that allows them to control the tension of the rope.
A quadrocopter equipped with a motorized spool for rope deployment.
A quadrocopter equipped with a motorized spool for rope deployment.

A plastic tube guides the rope to a release point located between two propellers. The system estimates the external forces and torques exerted on the quadrocopter by the rope during deployment, and takes this into account in order to ensure that the quadrocopters behave as desired.


Aerial Construction is a collaboration between the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control and Gramazio Kohler Research at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, 2015.

Researchers: Federico Augugliaro, Ammar Mirjan, Fabio Gramazio, Matthias Kohler, and Raffaello D’Andrea.

Want to know more about this research project?  Check out their project websites:

Article and images thanks to to

This Kentucky Dad Freaked And Shot Down Drone

Kentucky Fued Ignited Over Claims The Drone Was Spying On His Sunbathing Daughter

This story has sparked international public debate on drones, and the laws surrounding them.

The shooter claimed the drone was hovering over his property and scared his daughter (who was sunbathing).  So he shot it down and it crashed in a nearby field (thankfully, noone was hurt). He was soon arrested by local police on criminal mischief charges.  The drone owner disputes this, and said the drone was 200 ft. in the air while filming a nearby friends house.

Watch and read the details below and share with us who you think was in the wrong here?  The Homeowner?  The Drone Owner?  Both?




Stamkos’s Hockey Puck vs. Target Drones [Video]

This Is Probably The Worst Fate For A Drone

As drone technology continues to advance at an incredibly fast pace, the cost of a drone is dramatically being reduced.  The 2 most obvious indicators for this are:

  1. Increased supply of drone materials flooding the market in response to demand.
  2. Hockey pucks.

Yes, hockey pucks.  Why else would Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos be using drones as target practice?  Maybe a longer length of string would have saved these little drones from their fate.

Hope he at least bought the drone’s owner a dinner after practice.

Watch below and let us know what you think!

This Hands Free Camera Drone Hovers Like A Loyal Pup

Just Toss It Up And It Flies Itself

This is Lily, the first self-flying camera drone.  For those wanting to DIY their own action shots, this is about as hands off as it gets!  Just toss the drone in the air, it stabilizes, and then waits for your command like a well trained dog.

Lily will set you back $1,000 ($500 for pre-order launch by Feb 2016).   But rumor is that in a couple of years time, it will probably come down in price and size as development continues.


Check out the video and article below

Henry Bradlow holds an RC controller and a horribly cracked Moto X, but he’s only gripping these devices in case something goes wrong with his demo. When Bradlow, the CTO and co-founder of Lily Robotics, gives the go sign, Nghia Ho, the company’s computer vision engineer, flings a drone straight up into the air. It rises, and then immediately begins to fall. For a split second, it appears as though this 3D-printed prototype with a camera attached is about to shatter into a thousand pieces. But just as the drone starts to descend, Lily’s four rotors flick on. The machine steadies itself in mid-air, then rises about twenty feet and hangs there, awaiting instructions.

Bradlow never once touched the controller, or his phone. That’s the whole point of Lily, the first product from Lily Robotics, a five-person company co-founded by a couple of recent Berkeley grads with funding from Silicon Valley heavy-hitters like Ron Conway. Lily is a self-flying drone that is always following you, following a certain set of commands. It follows a small circular tracker, which you can have in your pocket or on your boat. With one tap of the tracker, Lily can execute some nifty camera moves, all while staying focused on you. The camera inside, Bradlow says, is roughly equivalent to the GoPro Hero 3: It can shoot 1080p video, or 720p up to 120 frames per second—there’s some tech inside that will detect when you hit a jump while snowboarding and automatically kick the camera into slow-mo. It’ll also shoot 12-megapixel stills and it can make a cool 360-degree panorama. It can fly 25 miles per hour, is totally waterproof, lasts up to 20 minutes on a charge, and has range up to 100 feet. Bradlow says it could move faster and have more range, but the point isn’t to map agricultural landscapes—it’s to take pictures, or have the Lily chase you down the slopes while you carve some powder.

It’s a drone, sure, but mostly it’s a flying camera. And at $499 if you pre-order (or $999 after), it’s a pretty expensive one too. You can tweak the default settings using either the companion app or the small tracker, but you don’t have to know a thing to get it to work. You can’t take over the piloting if you want to—there is no manual mode.

It’s not the future of drones; it’s more like the future of the point-and-shoot.


Article thanks to David Pierce at – click to continue reading about Lily

Image via

This Drone Exposed The Most Disgusting Business Operation You’ve Ever Seen

You Might Pass On The Bacon When You See This

Put down your ham sandwich for a minute, and watch this.

When a drone recently flew over a pig farm, it exposed a disgusting environmental atrocity.

The drone’s owner is filmmaker Mark Devries, and he’s been working on a documentary since 2012 to expose factory farms causing environmental devastation.  You are looking at an open air sewage pit roughly the size of 4 football fields.

In this video, he flew his multi-rotor drone over a pig factory operation that is typical of roughly 2,000 farms in the state of North Carolina alone.


You won’t believe what they do when the pit gets full.  This is just gross.


Article via