CleanFly project: Aermatica3D implements the proximity flying system for weeding and cleaning vertical surfaces with drone

Jun 09 2023

CleanFly project: Aermatica3D implements the proximity flying system for weeding and cleaning vertical surfaces with drone

Thanks to investments promoted by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) of the Lombardy Region and the European Union for the Innovation and Competitiveness sector, Aermatica3D has studied and implemented a flying proximity system for cleaning and weeding of vertical walls with drone, such as ancient walls and facades of prestigious buildings such as ancient palaces.

Currently these operations are carried out using traditional solutions based on raised platforms, where it is possible to access from a lower roadway or operated manually through trained people who needs to climb onto the vertical surfaces to be treated.

Often the ancient walls subject to deterioration due to the widespread presence of weeds border watercourses and are characterized by conditions that make it very complicated, if not impossible to safely carry out weeding and cleaning operations. In other cases, the hight and the size of the surfaces to be treated make operations with traditional means complicated, risky and very expensive.

Therefore, as part of the CleanFly project, Aermatica3D has proposed a technological solution with drones that makes this kind of treatment possible with low costs, without impact on the environment and without danger to operators.

The request for such a solution comes directly from the Italian public administrations that oversee the cultural heritage that requires cleaning treatments and from specialized operators who still operate with traditional means. Often the complexity and costs related to activities carried out manually and with traditional means, determine costs that cannot be faced by public administrations and make it impossible for companies that provide services in the sector to be able to prepare a sustainable economic proposals for customers.

Aermatica3D, in developing the CleanFly project, starts from the research and experimentation already carried out in collaboration with the SGD Group and the Municipality of Treviso in 2020, for an experimentation with drones which would allow to weed the sections of the ancient walls of Treviso, otherwise unreachable or difficult to handle.

The solution covered by the CleanFly project is characterized by an industrial drone such as the DJI Matrice 300 RTK, specially customized to become a suitable and optimized system to perform the application described, i.e. distribute liquid product in flight in a horizontal direction on a vertical surface almost in direct contact in a very complex, urban operating scenario with little space and many obstacles. The automated distribution system is powered from the ground with a special high capacity sprayer pump placed on the ground and connected to the drone by means of a pipe to allow adequate distribution capacity of the liquid.

In the case of weeding treatments on the ancient walls, the already tested liquid product to be distributed is a biological liquid that is not at all invasive for the environment and is highly effective in contrasting the deterioration of the ancient walls.

The drone is equipped with sensors and customized software to have a high operational control and to be able to fly in a safe and controlled way at close range from the surface to be treated. The customized distribution system allows the desired quantity of liquid to be distributed in an appropriately directed manner on the surface, minimizing product drift and ensuring uniform coverage of the surface being treated. The proposed solution derives from the technologies now widely used in the agricultural sector for the distribution of liquid biological products with drones that Aermatica3D has extensively tested in the past during research and experimentation activities with the Fojanini Foundation in Sondrio, the Consorzio dei Vini del Candia, the Institut Français de la Vigne et du Vin in France, the phytosanitary service of the Lombardy Region and which it offers today on the Italian and European market.

The same technology can be used in the application of liquid products on tall trees as can be the scenario of the fight against the pine processionary which today creates many problems in parks and cities. In fact, the processionary, in addition to causing extensive damage to plants, causes dangers for people and animals due to irritation and possible allergic reactions as a result of contact with the skin or ingestion of hair by pets.

The CleanFly project is an experimental development of an innovative technology and responds to the need to protect and enhance the territory and cultural heritage in addition to the need for operators to work safely. The operators who currently provide this service will no longer be forced to carry out dangerous manual activities in contact with herbicides harmful to humans. Instead, they will be able to work remotely, instead of being directly involved in dispensing cleaning liquids. The operation is carried out through a console of the mechatronic system, drone and distribution kit, for the controlled dispensing of cleaning and weeding products.

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