Ladders in industry lead to accidents. Airborne robots could replace them.
According to OSHA, the most dangerous thing a worker can do is climb a ladder. In 2014, falls accounted for roughly 40% of all the deaths in construction, the most dangerous line of work in the US, according to the Department of Labor. That's why Appelix, an 18 month-old company based in Jacksonville, Fla., wants to replace humans on ladders with flying robots.
In a telephone interview, Bob Dahlstrom, Appelix's CEO and founder, told InformationWeek about the experience that brought the challenge of ladders home to him. "I worked my way through college painting houses," Dahlstrom said, so when it came time to paint a newly-acquired vacation home, he decided to do the work himself. A few dozen trips up and down the ladder to reach the second story had him thinking of better ways to get the job done, and the idea for the Appelix Worker Bee was born.
Falls are the cause of many industrial accidents. Drones might help reduce the need for humans to climb.
The Worker Bee is built of four main components, Dahlstrom said: the base station with a computer and store of materials, an umbilical cable, a quad-copter, and the software that ties the other components together. "Because my background is software, to me drones are software," said Dahlstrom.
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