Building a Bridge with Flying Robots

  • Ammar MirjanEmail author
  • Federico Augugliaro
  • Raffaello D’Andrea
  • Fabio Gramazio
  • Matthias Kohler


The research presented here investigates techniques and tools for design and fabrication of tensile structures with flying robots. Tensile aggregations are described as a concatenation of nodes and links. Computational tools provide the designer of such a structure with the necessary aid to simulate, sequence and evaluate a design before fabrication. Using a prototypical suspension footbridge as an example, this paper describes the techniques and challenges for implementing the construction method on a full-scale, loadbearing, architectural artefact. Firstly, a series of tensile links is fabricated at defined lengths between two distant support structures to build the primary elements of the bridge. Secondly, cooperating flying robots brace the assembly by braiding the primary elements to one another. And finally, the structure is stabilized through the fabrication of additional connections by robots flying around existing elements within the porous structure.


Aerial robotic construction Tensile structures Cooperative fabrication 



The research presented here is based on a collaboration between the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control and Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich. The experiments shown here are performed in the Flying Machine Arena [3] at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control at ETH Zurich. The work is supported by the Hartmann Mueller-Fonds on ETH Research Grant ETH-30 12-1. A special thanks goes to Augusto Gandia and Maximilian Schulz who have contributed to the work.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ammar Mirjan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Federico Augugliaro
    • 2
  • Raffaello D’Andrea
    • 2
  • Fabio Gramazio
    • 1
  • Matthias Kohler
    • 1
  1. 1.Gramazio Kohler ResearchChair of Architecture and Digital Fabrication, ETHZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control, ETHZurichSwitzerland

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