Tuesday, July 20, 2021

SkyMul: drone swarms for rebar tying in construction SkyTy (P3)

We are super excited to announce the third prototype of SkyTy (P3). P3 has been able to fly and tie for a few months now. Watch the world’s first automated (hands-off) rebar tying by aerial robot.

Rebar is an essential component of concrete structures. Rebar is placed as a grid, and tied together to hold them in place. This is essential to keep the rods in position when concrete is poured. Rebar tying is a dull, repetitive and surprisingly dangerous job. Rodbusters are bent over most of the time they tie the rebar, causing various musculo-skeletal injuries. We were surprised that this essential task had hardly evolved since the invention of concrete.

Concrete is poured onto the rebar mats after they are tied

Many alternatives such as welded mats, rolled mats etc., were invented to reduce the challenge of rebar placement and tying. However, all of these alternatives lack the flexibility and efficiency of working with rebar sticks. Rebar sticks are easily transportable, customizable and allows for last minute on-site changes.

We spent multiple months identifying existing technology, alternatives and the challenges faced by rebar install contractors before building the SkyTy prototypes.

SkyTy workflow

SkyTy system is comprised of a ground unit, a SkyTy mapper drone and numerous worker drones. The rodbuster technician first marks the extent of the area needed for tying rebar. The mapper drone automatically flies over the area, and uses its sensors to build a map of the rebar.

In step 2, the map of the rebar is built automatically. The rodbuster technician uses a semi-automated interface to verify grid spacing and placement accuracy of the placed rebar. This UI enables the rodbuster to verify and ensure quality of hundreds of sq.ft. of rebar in a matter of few minutes.https://www.youtube.com/embed/7G0X2KZ428U?feature=oembed

Though this interface takes up a few minutes of the technician’s time, they are able to visualize, verify and resolve placement deviation.

Computer vision algorithms utilized to detect rebar and build maps of placed maps.

If you are curious about why our robot uses a drone platform, read.

If you are interested in learning more about SkyTy, contact us