The drones could be used to build shelters in harsh conditions both on Earth and in space.

By Teodosia Dobriyanova  

A team of researchers at Imperial College London and Empa have been developing collaborative aerial drones. Inspired by the work of bees, the scientists are training the robots to construct 3D printed buildings from a single blueprint.

To ensure maximum accuracy, the cooperative drones would complete their own tasks and then supervise the work of their peers. The drones are fully autonomous once in flight and have so far successfully completed tests with lightweight cement mixtures.

The researchers are hoping that one day the small machines will be able to replace the need for human labour in difficult conditions such as building shelters in the Arctic or even in space.