Equipping drones with weapons like flamethrowers and rifles has been warned by the FAA. Can we actually have drones equipped with a real firing nail gun?
A team of robotics has recently created a drone that has a flight time of 10 minutes and can fire a dozen nails in mid-air. Soon, the nail shooting drone will be able to remain airborne for much longer with tether and air cables. “It has force, but only for a very brief amount of time, which means that a fairly substantial octocopter like we’re flying only sees a blip in its motion,” says Atkins.

the nail shooting drone
The Nail Shooting Drone

A DJI octocopter rigged with a nail gun

In a paper, titled “Nailed It: Autonomous Roofing with a Nailgun-Equipped Octocopter,” the team of four researchers describe their dream of “autonomous roofing” using a multi-copter. “A DJI S1000 octocopter equipped with an off-the-shelf nail gun and an adjustable-slope roof mock-up were used,” they note in the paper’s abstract “The nail gun was modified to allow triggering from the vehicle and tooltip compression feedback. A mount was designed to adjust the angle to match representative roof slopes. An open-source octocopter autopilot facilitated controller adaptation for the roofing application. A state machine managed autonomous nailing sequences using smooth trajectories designed to apply prescribed contact forces for reliable nail deployment.”

This is simpler to start with, but eventually, such a drone should be able to use its own vision system to find the point where to touch down. From inspecting buildings to planting trees drones are being used for everything nowadays. Hence, roofing can be a little dangerous at times like attaching shingles which can be done by a drone, overseen by experts. At the conclusion of the paper, the team describes its plans for future work that includes a pneumatic air gun, power tether for long running time, and vision/depth-based localization system. The drone is the subject of a paper (“Nailed it: Autonomous Roofing with a Nailgun-Equipped Octocopter”) by UM’s Matthew Romano and others, submitted for the International Conference on Robotics and Automation later this year.