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Building cleaning drones take flight in North Carolina

Lucid, Inc based in Raleigh, North Carolina is using drones to clean the exterior surfaces of buildings. Andrew Ashur and his two friends David Danielson and Adrian Mayans got the idea after seeing workers cleaning tall skyscrapers. They knew there had to be a safer, more efficient way to complete this task, so they began to put their plan into action.

A new industry emerging

It seems like every day a new use for drones is found. From delivering items, to search and rescue, to drones that can now clean the outside of buildings, the possibilities are endless.

According to the three college students who started Lucid, their solution using drones is faster and safer than traditional cleaning methods. Large lifts and scaffolding are needed to get workers to higher stories which requires a lot of time to set up, opposed to the quick set up of a drone. All that’s needed is the aircraft itself, a few tanks of cleaning solution, and a hose. Once the drone is in the air, cleaning can begin.

The cleaning solution used by Lucid is an alternative to pressure watching which can be damaging to exterior finishing. This works in their favor as the high water pressure could effect how the drone flies. Instead, the gentle rinse and “biodegradable chemistry” helps remove mold, mildew, algae and other growth from the outside of a building in a more efficient manner.

The drone used by Lucid appears to be a hexacopter from DJI’s Matrice series which is capable of lifting heavier payloads. All that needs to be lifted by the drone is the hose carrying water, not a tank that actually holds the water. A standard consumer drone like a Mavic or Phantom would never be able to accomplish this task. Check out the video below to see just how Lucid is using new methods to clean the outside of buildings.

This emerging idea might not be a polished solution, but Ashur and his friends have been able to lock down a good amount of residential jobs. They even have some commercial clients interested in doing business with them. An even more efficient take at this idea would be affixing tanks to hold their cleaning solution to the drone itself, but that would require some serious hardware. The DJI Agras MG-1 features a liquid tank, but only sprays a mist downwards for farming use. As drone technology improves, so will Lucid’s business practices.

Back in May, we reported on a 19-year old Australian student winning Intel’s ISEF top prize with a window cleaning drone.

What do you think about cleaning buildings using drones? Let us know in the comments below.


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Photo credit: Andrew Ashur