Aizawa High Pressure Concrete Co., Ltd. announced that it will make a full-scale entry into the drone business.

Strategically partnered with Top Flight Technologies, an aerospace venture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), to jointly partner with TFT’s patented hybrid power system for long-range, high-capacity industrial drones (UAVs). We plan to develop a wide range of service businesses such as monitoring and maintenance repairs centered on development and concrete infrastructure.

Aizawa High Pressure Concrete Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Tomakomai City, Hokkaido, President: Yoshihiro Aizawa) will make a full-scale entry into the drone business. A strategic partnership with Top Flight Technologies (TFT, Headquarters: Boston, CEO: Dr. Ron Huang), an aerospace venture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), equipped with a hybrid power system patented by TFT. We will jointly develop a long-distance, large-capacity industrial drone (UAV), and develop a wide range of service businesses such as monitoring and maintenance repairs centered on concrete infrastructure.

As a key technology to promote the infrastructure maintenance business that is urgently needed, we are promoting the practical application of “self-healing material” that naturally repairs cracks in concrete by utilizing the metabolic function of bacteria. I will. We are aiming to quickly establish a non-visual robot construction method that automatically applies a liquid-type repair material with self-healing performance to the surface of a concrete structure in a remote location with a drone, and the payload (maximum load capacity) is at least 10 kg. As mentioned above, I was looking for a full-scale industrial aircraft with a cruising time of more than one hour.

Regarding this alliance, President Aizawa said, “TFT technology that realizes large payload and long-term flight is currently unique. It will pave the way for drone construction of our self-healing material.” Is emphasized. “It’s a great effort for both companies, with deep knowledge of their respective disciplines, to work together to create new solutions that meet the needs of the world,” said Ron Huang.

TFT was established in 2014 by MIT graduates such as Dr. Ron Huang, a researcher in aerospace engineering. It features the design of the original “Airborg (R)” equipped with a hybrid power system that supplies power by storing electricity in a lightweight battery while generating electricity with an engine that uses mixed gasoline as fuel.

The flight time of the current drone is as short as about 15 minutes at the longest, and battery replacement is complicated, whereas the TFT can fly for a long time with one refueling, greatly reducing the labor of operation management. can. Furthermore, with the function of suppressing vibration from the engine that hinders stable flight and excellent sensing technology, stable flight is realized even in bad weather.

As the first step, the two companies will develop two new aircraft this summer, which can carry a maximum of 10 kg of cargo and can continue to operate for up to one hour, excluding fuel and sensors. The aircraft includes (1) high-performance lidar (LIDAR) that creates 3D images of topographic maps and structures based on point cloud data of laser irradiation, (2) high-resolution (4K) electro-optical camera, and (3) concrete. It will be equipped with a thermal imaging camera (thermography) used to analyze surface floating and peeling, and (4) a computer unit. It is expected that these on-board equipment alone will reach 8 to 10 kg, and the total weight of the aircraft will reach 33 kg.

This will enable us to deploy “Geographic Information Systems” (GIS) services that collect, integrate, store, and update ground data from drones to continue to provide customers with high-value-added information. In addition to inspecting concrete infrastructure, we believe that it can be used for various purposes such as spraying pesticides while monitoring the growth status of large-scale agricultural land, and automatically monitoring a long transmission line network visually.

Both companies will build a domestic customer base while promoting sales of aircraft at the same time, and will make a final decision on the ideal business unit such as a new company at the end of the year. During this time, we are planning to actively promote alliances with other technology ventures, and regarding the operation and maintenance of the aircraft, TEAD Co., Ltd. (Headquarters) is a long-established company in the domestic drone industry and has already organized 28 certified training centers nationwide. : Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture, Representative Director: Yuji Aiyoshi).

TFT is excellent not only in the design and manufacture of airframes, but also in software development such as an original airframe control system using AI and an operation management system that operates multiple airframes at the same time. Is an idea to fulfill. President Aizawa said, “We would like to firmly establish a business method for geographic information systems (GIS) utilizing Airborg, and then put into practical use robot construction of self-healing materials by non-visual flight in the second phase from the beginning of the year.” I am.

■ Company profile

Company name: Aizawa High Pressure Concrete Co., Ltd.
English notation: AIZAWA Concrete Corporation
Founded:
Established in April 1935 : October 1, 1963
Capital: 63,900,000 yen
Headquarters: 3-1-1, Wakakusa-cho, Tomakomai-shi, Hokkaido
Representative: President Yoshihiro Aizawa
Number of employees: 620 (as of April 2019)
Main business: Ready-mixed concrete business
      Precast business
      Housing business (H pile / Σ base / PC construction)
      Pile business
URL: https://www.aizawa-group.co. jp /

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