A diverse set of creative solutions exist for automating tasks within an environment. The common ones are:
These conventional solutions add few challenges for the specific task of rebar tying. Due the large areas that need to be tied, a robot arm needs to be gigantic to reach hundreds of feet. A ground robot needs to move on top of the rebar, without moving the rebar out of alignment, or breaking ties. This leaves us with a gantry robot, which work great to reach different parts of the site. But they can require many hours to setup, install and remove. They lack scalability and flexibility to perform jobs of different sizes across multiple construction segments.
There are other non-conventional methods such as quadruped robots such as Boston Dynamics’ Spot. They require additional mechanical/actuation complexities to walk on rebar. Additionally, rebar mats can be up to several feet thick further complicating locomotion. On site visits we have seen that you can tell newer apprentices from skilled rodbusters in part by how well they walk over the mats. We are optimistic to see more progress among the different locomotion platforms that are starting to emerge.
Currently, a flying drone (in reality a hopping drone) provides a simple, cost effective, job site agnostic means of moving a tool from one place to the other. SkyTy combines drone with a small gantry. This provides a quick deployment to different areas of the site, while simultaneously reducing the time-in-flight and the power consumption for hovering.
Below is the comparison of a drone without a gantry against a SkyTy system. The hopping (flying) time is significantly reduced. The overall elapsed time is improved since we leverage the gantry and its precision.
If you are interested in learning more about SkyTy, contact us