Flying robots to build a 6-meter tower

France's FRAC Center will be hosting an exhibition to be built entirely by flying robots

The FRAC Centre in Orléans, France will for the first time host an exhibition to be built entirely by flying robots. Titled "Flight Assembled Architecture," the six meter-high tower will be made up of 1,500 prefabricated polystyrene foam modules. The exhibition has been developed by Swiss architect Gramazio & Kohler and Italian robot designer Raffaello D'Andrea, to inspire new methods of thinking about architecture as a "physical process of dynamic formation."

The installation involves a fleet of quadrocopters that are programmed to interact, lift, transport and assemble the final tower, all the time receiving commands wirelessly from a local control room. The tower, which will boast a height of 6 meters (19.7 feet) and a diameter of 3.5 meters (11.5 feet), will be constructed within a 10 x 10 x 10 meter (32.8 x 32.8 x 32.8 foot) airspace, in which up to 50 vehicles can be tracked simultaneously at a rate of 370 frames per second with millimeter accuracy. This "Flying Machine Arena" was developed by D'Andrea, and features a state-of-the-art motion capture system.

Each quadrocopter is fitted with custom electronics and onboard sensors to allow for precision vehicle control, whilst also providing the opportunity for pre-programmed flight paths, which could include arcs and spirals. Furthermore, the fleet management technology helps avoid collisions by taking over when the flying robots get too close to each other. The same technology is also used for automating routine take-offs, landings and vehicle calibration and charging.

The Flight Assembled Architecture exhibition will be on display at the FRAC Centrefrom December 2 through to February 19, 2012.

Check out D'Andrea's Flying Machine Arena and the impressive quadrocopter moves in the video below.


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