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3D Printing Drones Work Like Bees

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BuilDrones (right) 3D-print material during flight, while ScanDrones (left) continuously measure their output for quality control.

Credit: Imperial College London (U.K.)

An international team of scientists led by the U.K.'s Imperial College London (ICL) and the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) developed a fleet of three-dimensional (3D) printing drones that can build and repair structures in flight.

The bee-inspired Aerial Additive Manufacturing (Aerial-AM) fleet operates cooperatively from a blueprint, adjusting on the fly.

The fleet includes material-depositing BuilDrones and quality-controlling ScanDrones, as well as a controller that monitors their progress and can intervene based on real-time feedback from the drones.

Said ICL's Mirko Kovac, "We believe our fleet of drones could help reduce the costs and risks of construction in the future, compared to traditional manual methods."

From Imperial College London (U.K.)
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