Chinese researchers introduce 'flying worker' that could revolutionize skyscraper maintenance

Researchers involved in the study revealed that this flying worker has high flexibility and strong mission adaptability

Flying worker to maintain skyscrapers
Meng Xiangdong

The number of skyscrapers is increasing rapidly across the globe. Even though these mammoth structures adds up to the beauty and elegance of cities, repairing these structures poses serious safety risk to humans involved in the task. But now, Chinese researchers have put forward a promising alternative.

The research carried out by experts at the Shenyang Institute of Automation (SIA) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has developed a contact aerial manipulator system capable of maintaining skyscrapers in the most efficient manner. Researchers who took part in the study presented the details of their findings at the 2019 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2019).

This newly developed robot comprises of a single-degree-of-freedom manipulator cube-frame end effector and a hex-rotor UAV system that will help it to climb up the giant skyscrapers. This robot is capable of avoiding obstacles, and it can also jump over grooves on the surface of the walls. As researchers have designed this machine in a very sophisticated manner, the whole system's contact force can be controlled precisely without any force sensors.

"How to control the force is considered the most difficult problem, since flying robots usually are sensitive to an external force. We can take the robot as a spring system so that the contact process can be safe enough. In the near future, we might see extensive use of this new system in large infrastructure maintenance, and other special applications, such as scientific sampling," said Meng Xiangdong, the designer of the robot.

A few months back, a French inventor demonstrated a jet-powered hoverboard that helped a soldier to fly across the skies. The demonstration was carried out during the annual Bastille Day military parade in France. After the demonstration, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel lauded the inventor for his milestone achievement.