A U.S. entrepreneur intends to turn every city into an instant seaport with his idea for robot cranes floating in the sky beneath giant balloons. Jeremy Wiley, founder of Tethered Air, could change the shipping industry by offloading containers from ships without the need of harbors or ports.
He envisions a system that could span the Panama Canal, helping to move containers during shipping gridlock, or to facilitate military maneuvers or humanitarian relief efforts.
The robot crane is comprised of a cargo-lifting body, suspended from four payload cables that connect to four vertical anchor cables. The anchor cables are tethered together with an enormous balloon at the top — a pyramid-shaped design that “allows the robot crane to move anywhere within that space by shortening and extending its own suspension cables or sliding up and down the anchor cables.”