H2 Clipper , a US-based company, has obtained a patent for its robot swarm manufacturing technology that it intends to employ in the construction of its large hydrogen-powered aircraft.
According to the company, this technology, registered under the title “System, Method and Apparatus for the Manufacturing of Airships by Robotics”, has the potential to reduce both the cost and time required for the production of airships and other aircraft.
H2 Clipper is part of several companies worldwide that develop airships for cargo and passenger markets. The company aims to begin commercial operations with 305-meter-long blimps in 2029, intended for transporting hydrogen between production facilities and global distribution centers. With plans to power its aircraft using hydrogen fuel cells , reaching a speed of 240 km/h, H2 Clipper plans to build a prototype this year and make its first flight in 2026.
However, manufacturing these airships presents a significant engineering challenge due to their considerably large dimensions.
H2 Clipper founder and CEO Rinaldo Brutoco said: “As we finished designing the major structural components of our aircraft, we realized that something so massive would require a hangar 24 stories high and 1,500 feet long. We recognized that we could not build the airships of the future using a conventional assembly line. Therefore, we began to develop advanced robotics technology that used ambulatory and ground-mounted robots working together as a swarm to co-construct the aircraft exoskeleton.“.
In addition, Brutco supports the possibility of applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to robots, allowing them to learn autonomously and optimize the aircraft construction process.
It should be noted that the members of H2 Clipper are convinced that their swarm robotic manufacturing technology offers an efficient alternative for aircraft construction and seeks to license this technology.
“The average time to build an aircraft will be reduced to 12 months or less per ship depending on how many robots are assigned to each ship and will provide a viable economic path for hydrogen-powered flights that will greatly reduce the costs associated with transporting liquid hydrogen and containerized cargo“, said.
What are robot swarms?
Swarm robotics represents an innovative approach to the coordination of agent-based systems composed of numerous relatively simple robots.
This approach focuses on the design of robots, both in physical terms and in their behaviors, with the objective that predefined collective patterns emerge through interactions between robots and between them and their environment.
Likewise, it is inspired by the emergent behavior patterns observed in social insects, also known as swarm intelligence.
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