The bots, which are called SiSpis, are equipped with the kinds of extrusion devices seen in many 3D printers. But they also have onboard cameras and laser scanners to make sense of the world around them. Working from one giant plan, a swarm of the ‘bots can work out which parts of an object they can print as individuals to build structures as efficiently as possible as a team. When they need to recharge, they can simply tag-team out with another robot.
The robots are currently an in-house research project for Siemens. But speaking to The Engineer, the team behind them explained that it hopes they could be used to build “structures such as car bodies, the hulls of ships and airplane fuselages” in the future.