Robotic Drones to 'Print' Emergency Shelters for Those in Need


Reading time ( words)

A new research project aims to develop the world's first flying robots capable of autonomously assessing and manufacturing building structures to help areas suffering from natural disasters.

The four year collaborative research project entitled ‘Aerial Additive Building Manufacturing: Distributed Unmanned Aerial Systems for in-situ manufacturing of the built environment’ involves researchers from the University of Bath, Imperial College and University College London.

Providing disaster relief

The research team aims to develop drones that can use an Additive Building Manufacturing (ABM) system to reach remote and disaster areas, and 3D print structures such as shelters and buildings, providing much needed disaster relief.

The drones being developed could fly to a disaster zone, scan and model the landscape using Building Information Management (BIM) systems, design temporary shelters, and print them on the spot. This could give those in need a place to live until emergency services personnel can reach them.

Revolutionising remote construction

ABM is a key technological building revolution currently transforming the construction industry by allowing the 3D printing of buildings and building components, resulting in quicker build times and reduced material and transport costs.

However, due to their large size, ABM systems are inflexible making it difficult for them to undertake maintenance and repair work, especially in remote and rural areas.

World's first mobile factories

Whilst many drones are used for photography and surveillance, the drones in this project will utilise a revolutionary ABM system to remotely manufacture building structures such as shelters and bridges for those in need.

In order to use this type of system for post-disaster reconstruction activities where the manufacturing speed of ABM would be hugely beneficial, the research team aims to develop the world's first ABM system consisting of a swarm of aerial robots that can autonomously assess and manufacture building structures.

To do this, the team plans to miniaturise ABM and give it aerial capabilities so that it can be more mobile and able to manufacture complex high-rise structures. This would enable the robots to act as flying mini-factories, where they would land at to a construction site and work together to create buildings from scratch.

Co-investigator and Senior Lecturer in our Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, Dr Richard Ball said: “We are delighted to be part of this ambitious and exciting project which will push the forefront of construction technologies into the future.”

Co-investigator and Senior Lecturer in our Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, Dr Chris Williams added: “It is exciting to be working on a project where the structure has to be so light and efficient that it can be built by small flying drones.”

 The University’s Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering was ranked equal first in the UK in Architecture & the Built Environment for the high quality and international impact of its research (2014 Research Excellence Framework). In the assessment, 85 per cent of its research output was judged to be internationally excellent while 90 per cent of its research impact was judged outstanding.

Share


Suggested Items

DARPA's Assured Autonomy Program Seeks to Guarantee Safety of Learning-enabled Autonomous Systems

08/17/2017 | DARPA
Building on recent breakthroughs in autonomous cyber systems and formal methods, DARPA today announced a new research program called Assured Autonomy that aims to advance the ways computing systems can learn and evolve to better manage variations in the environment and enhance the predictability of autonomous systems like driverless vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Enabling Extreme New Designs for Optics and Imagers

08/22/2016 | DARPA
DARPA seeks engineered optical materials unconstrained by “laws” of classical optics to develop vastly smaller, lighter, and more capable devices for advanced imaging applications.

NASA and Star Wars: The Connections Are Strong in This One

12/21/2015 | NASA
NASA astronauts “use the force” every time they launch … from a certain point of view. We have real-world droids and ion engines. We’ve seen dual-sun planets like Tatooine and a moon that eerily resembles the Death Star. And with all the excitement around the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the Force will soon be felt 250 miles above Earth on the International Space Station.



Copyright © 2017 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.