Swiss engineers have taught a fleet of drones to build a rope bridge that is capable of carrying a human’s weight.

It is the first time the small flying machines have been programmed to autonomously build load-bearing structures at full-scale.

The team from the ETH Zurich Flying Machine Arena say it is a step further toward real-world scenarios.

The drones were equipped with a motorised spool that allowed them to control the tension acting on the rope during deployment.

A plastic tube was used to guide the rope to the release point located between two propellers.

The engineers were able to factor in the external forces and torques exerted on the quadrocopter by the rope during deployment, so that it could be kept stable.

The algorithms were run on a computer and then sent to the drones via a custom wireless infrastructure.

More information is available here. 

Check out the exciting piece of programming in the video below.