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AkzoNobel surprises with new autonomous drone

Published on :Tuesday, August 17, 2021

AkzoNobel surprises with new autonomous drone, a smarter way to apply paint. Apellix and AkzoNobel are collaborating on a computer-controlled spray painting drone that’ll change the game of applying paint. Apellix won the partnership in the 2019 Paint the Future global startup challenge, now we reveal how it’s unfolding. Now the solutions that captured the imaginations of our experts are gaining momentum. Robert Dahlstrom, Apellix Founder and CEO and Michael Hindmarsh, AkzoNobel Venture Lead are ready to share what’s next in this partnership.

A smart solution – Apellix’s custom-built drone is tethered to the ground for its power and coating supply, but has the freedom to fly autonomously depending on the area to be coated. Why do we say this is a smart solution? It uses unique software flight control to more accurately apply coatings, and it’s also able to capture valuable painting data.

Robert says: “While drones fly really well, robots perform repetitive tasks really well and Apellix has been able to combine the best of both worlds. Building upon our software-controlled robots that make contact with a structure to take steel and paint thickness measurements, we’ve attached a specially designed spray painting system to a custom drone controlled by computers.”

Michael is impressed with the rate of progress in their work to develop the spray painting drone. “Developing a drone is easy. Spraying paint is relatively easy too. But developing a computer-controlled drone that can spray paint is actually quite challenging. A lot of skill and expertise has to go into getting the drone to apply a good quality coating in a consistent and reproducible manner. That’s where our collaboration comes in.”

The benefits of using this type of drone, such as reduced application time and less waste to the environment, as well as increased safety for applying paint at height, are well worth the intense effort.

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