Patent published on March 7, 2024

Innovative Patent Allows Vehicles to Fly and Drive on Inclined Surfaces


New York Times, July 15, 2022

A recently published patent (US20240076071A1) by B.G. NEGEV TECHNOLOGIES & APPLICATIONS LTD., AT BEN-GURION UNIVERSITY, introduces a groundbreaking solution to the challenges faced by robots designed for cleaning inclined surfaces, such as solar panels. This patent outlines an aerial vehicle that combines the ability to drive on the ground with the capability to fly in the air. By incorporating wheels, tracks, and propellers into its design, this invention revolutionizes the way robots navigate challenging environments.

The core problem being addressed by this patent is the limited maneuverability of existing robots used for cleaning surfaces, especially those with high slopes like solar panels. While some robots are attached to the frames of solar panels or drive on surfaces, they face restrictions in terms of maintenance and the ability to move between panels or return to a central base. Additionally, flying drones that clean panels without landing lack stability and the capacity to apply adequate force on the panels.

To solve these challenges, the patented technology integrates a control system with propellers, enabling the vehicle to achieve stability on inclined surfaces. The controller provides precise control over the vehicle's speed and flight, as well as the movement of the propellers. This innovative design empowers the vehicle to efficiently clean solar panels by flying to specific panels, returning to the base for recharging and maintenance when required, and moving on the surfaces it has cleaned.

Once this problem is resolved, the landscape of panel cleaning could be transformed. With the proposed driving-flying aerial vehicle, cleaning robots will have the ability to drive, fly, and efficiently navigate inclined surfaces. Imagine a scenario where a fleet of these vehicles is deployed, effortlessly moving from panel to panel, maintaining optimal performance by applying negative thrust through the propellers. This advancement allows the savings of time and resources since the vehicles can cover a larger area for cleaning and minimize the need for human intervention.

Moreover, the applications for this technology can extend beyond surface cleaning. The driving-flying aerial vehicle could be utilized for various missions, such as detection and transportation of objects. Its autonomous capability enables it to execute tasks with efficiency and precision. This patent offers a glimpse into a future where robots seamlessly integrate into our lives, helping us overcome challenges in various industries.

While this revolutionary patent opens up possibilities for advancements in surface cleaning and autonomous operations, it's important to remember that the presence of a patent does not guarantee its immediate appearance in the market. Further research, development, and testing will be required to ensure the feasibility and viability of this technology. Nonetheless, it offers an exciting glimpse into the possibilities that lie ahead.

P.S. This article was based on a recently published patent, US20240076071A1, which provides a glimpse into innovative technology. It is important to note that the appearance of a patent does not guarantee its market availability or full-scale implementation.


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