Disney introduces the PaintCopter – an autonomous spray-painting drone

Disney PaintCopter is an autonomous tethered drone to spray paint on 3D surfaces

Disney Research just published a paper and uploaded a video to YouTube showcasing one of their latest projects the PaintCopter. As the name implies it is a quadcopter drone that can autonomously spray paint on 3D surfaces.

Disney PaintCopter is a modified DJI Matrice 100

According to Disney Research, the aim is to be able to paint large 3D surfaces without the need for painters, scaffolding, ladders and the inherent risks involved. The PaintCopter is a modified DJI Matrice 100 that gets both the paint as well as the power supplied through a tether.

The drone painting process consists of a number of steps, that Disney Research explains as follows:

“The PaintCopter is a quadrotor that has been custom fitted with an arm plus a spray gun on a pan-tilt mechanism. To enable long deployment times for industrial painting tasks, power and paint are delivered by lines from an external unit. The ability to paint planar surfaces such as walls in single color is a basic requirement for a spray painting system. But this work addresses more sophisticated operation that subsumes the basic task, including painting on 3D structure, and painting of a desired texture appearance. System operation consists of:

  1. an offline component to capture a 3D model of the target surface,
  2. an offline component to design the painted surface appearance, and generate the associated robotic painting commands,
  3. a live system that carries out the spray painting.

Experimental results demonstrate autonomous spray painting by the UAV, doing area fill and versatile line painting on a 3D surface.”

In the video that was uploaded to YouTube, Disney Research shows how the PaintCopter can be used to paint 3D surfaces. Even though it is clearly still in its infancy, the benefits of having a drone do the painting work are obvious.

What do you think about the PaintCopter from Disney Research? Let us know in the comments below.

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Hat tip: Engadget

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