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Flying robots could build towers in disaster zones

drone standard image 2by3

A project to develop construction robot drones that can fly in to sensitive areas and print structures has won funding.

The Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council and its industrial partners awarded almost £3.5M to work being led by Imperial College London professor Mirko Kovac.

The team also includes Buro Happold and Cementation Skanska, as well as representatives from the University of Bath, University College London. It is aiming to miniaturise the process of additive building manufacturing.

The project is exploring the possibility of creating flying factories capable of working as teams to create complex high rise buildings in difficult environments.

Kovac said in a podcast published by Imperial College London: “We had recent progress in building 3D printing robots, which would be platforms that would fly and deposit layers of materials to build up larger structures.”

He said such drones could be useful to build shelters in disaster zones.

“Drones could reach places that could be very dangerous or expensive to go to.

“We can create a virtual model in a safe zone then send swarms of drones with materials to construct shelters.”

He added that drones would create jobs for human beings rather than replacing them, and could make construction safer and cheaper.

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