Autonomous roofing drones already know how to lay shingles on their own

The capabilities of drones are constantly expanding. Not so long ago, a new variety of them appeared - construction drones. They already know how to assemble rope bridges, build inexpensive houses, and scientists from the University of Michigan (USA) recently demonstrated an octocopter, which can deftly attach asphalt shingles to the roof using a pneumatic hammer.

The task of the engineers was to combine already "ready-made" components into one whole: a nail gun and a DJI S1000 octocopter, which the craftsmen had previously turned into a flying flamethrower.

To create a roofing drone, engineers, in addition to an air gun, equipped the drone with a system of cameras and markers that allow it to navigate in space and pinpoint where to hit the next nail.

UM specialists replaced the trigger "human" hook on the pistol with a virtual switch, so that the drone itself determines the moment of hammering the nail. After that, they carried out a series of experiments, during which they managed to nail tiles at various angles to a wooden panel imitating a roof.

However, despite the excellent results, the researchers note that their brainchild is still inferior to the "living" roofer. In particular, the drone can only operate for 10 minutes with an autonomous power source. However, if you connect an electric cable to it, its temporal possibilities become almost unlimited. In addition, this will allow you to install a much higher power air gun on it.

According to the developers, it is also possible to replace the system of cameras and markers with other visual devices that react, for example, to shiny adhesive tape or to tiles painted in different colors.