The News Today
__
1.22.21
Heads Up

Researchers Strapped a Nail Gun to an Autonomous Drone

__Kristin Houser__Filed Under: Artificial Intelligence
Michigan Engineering via YouTube

Danger Zone

Experts predict that autonomous systems will take over three types of jobs first: ones that are dull, dirty, or dangerous.

To that end, a team of researchers decided to see if they could build a robot that would save humans from the perilous task of climbing on top of houses to install new shingles. And they succeeded — by strapping a nail gun to a drone.

Nailed It

Once you put aside any thoughts of that horrific nail-gun death scene in “Final Destination 3,” the roofing drone — described in a paper published to the pre-print server arXis — is pretty clever.

By combining two off-the-shelf devices — a nail gun and a DJI S1000 octocopter — with a series of cameras and markers, the University of Michigan team was able to train the drone to approach a makeshift roof and deploy a nail precisely where one was needed, a skill demonstrated in a video released alongside the paper.

Need for Speed

Of course, the roofing drone is nowhere near as fast as a professional roofer, meaning those jobs are still safe from an automation takeover — at least for now.

The team is already working to improve the drone’s nailing speed, and if they can to that — and increase the drone’s flight time from the current 10 minutes — we could see entire fleets of nail-gun wielding drones flying over homes in the future.

Let’s hope all the humans on site remember to wear their hard hats.

READ MORE: Researchers Found a Good Reason to Attach a Nail Gun to a Flying Drone [Gizmodo]

More on drones: FAA Reminder: Don’t Fly a Drone With a Weapon Attached to It