Inside Unmanned Systems

DEC 2016-JAN 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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48 unmanned systems inside   December 2016/January 2017 AIR NEW MARKETS by Charles Q.Choi The Worker Bee drone can fly up to three stories high to paint exterior walls. Photos courtesy of Apellix Companies are developing drones and robots to tackle one of the most dangerous and monotonous jobs in industry—painting. Air Brushed: New Drones Make Painting Easier R obert Dahlstrom and his wife own a beach house in Florida, and in 2013, it needed painting. His Internet secu- rity company, BluePrint Data in Jacksonville, Fla., was doing well, and he had extra time, so he decided to paint the house himself. "I painted houses working through col- lege, so I just put up scaffolding and climbed up to paint my own house," he said. "With a tired arm and a tired neck, I quickly realized I wasn't in college anymore, and I said to myself, 'There must be a better way.'" Now Dahlstrom and others are develop- ing aerial drones and ground-based robots to paint buildings, towers, bridges, ships, dams and other structures not only more efficiently but more safely. In the United States alone, 95 climbers working on cell and other industrial towers died between 2004 and 2012, accord- ing to a 2015 Federal Aviation Administration report. Climbers working on towers have a fatality rate that is 10 times that of construc- tion workers, Dahlstrom noted. Moreover, ac- cording to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the most dangerous thing a worker can do is climb a ladder. In 2014, falls accounted for roughly 40 percent of all the deaths in construction, the most dangerous line of work in the U.S., according to the De- partment of Labor. "It's 2016—why are people putting themselves in danger hanging off buildings and climbing up scaffolds and exposing themselves to inhal- ing toxic chemicals when we have robotic sys- tems that can do this?" Dahlstrom said. Colorful New Market Apellix, the new company that Dahlstrom formed in 2014 to provide painting services with drones, currently focuses on the oil and gas, shipping and infrastructure industries— each of which has a painting market segment worth more than $2 billion. They are part of

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