Autonomous Drone Nail Gun
University of Michigan (UM) researchers have equipped an autonomous drone with a nail gun to fix asphalt shingles on rooftops. They used a DJI S1000 Octocopter set up with a group of cameras and markers to enable it know exactly where it’s going and proper placement for the nails. A virtual switch was programmed so the drone automatically pulls the nail gun trigger when in the correct position. Read more for a video and additional information.

Since this is only a proof of concept, it can only operate for 10 minutes at a time or indefinitely when a power cable is added. The software they used was a modified version of Ardupilot (APM) running on an embedded BeagleBone Blue single-board Linux computer. Its cascaded proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller autonomously tracks a preloaded trajectory using motion capture feedback in Michigan’s outdoor netted motion capture equipped flight facility.

“It would be pretty easy to have a camera system mounted on the octocopter that understands both the orientation of the shingle and its position,” said Ella Atkins, a professor of aerospace engineering and robotics.