There is almost no end to the areas of commerce and industry where visual inspections of one kind or another play an important role.
Where these inspections take place at height or in other inaccessible areas, drones can provide a practical and cost-effective alternative to using the actual eyes of the inspector. Where a UAV is deployed, the images and /or footage replace the inspector’s vision allowing them to examine and re-examine conditions from the comfort of their desk. In certain circumstances, video can be reviewed in real-time by an inspector at a remote location while the drone is in operation, but most times, detailed imagery can be captured by the pilot for later sharing and review.
The information captured does not necessarily need to be limited to what is visible. The addition of a thermal imaging sensor can capture information that would remain invisible to the naked eye, allowing advanced diagnostics to take place. Assessment of insulation continuity, water ingress, thermal bridging, and heat loss are all areas where thermal imaging can provide real insight into building health in a non-destructive way and safe way.
Sending a drone piloted by certified ground-based personnel has an obvious advantage when it comes to safety. Sending inspection personnel into high or otherwise inaccessible areas can come with health and safety concerns and sometimes also with a significant price tag. Drone inspections avoid the need for this in terms of if initial assessments, ensuring personnel is only deployed if remedial action is identified, and then to the precise areas where they are needed and armed with plenty of information about what they will find when they get there.
This can mean initial and obvious savings when compared with the costs associated with scaffolding and elevated platforms and in the cost of deploying skilled repair personnel when there may not even be a fault to fix. This lower cost and ease of inspection can mean that they can be scheduled more frequently – prevention rather than cure being the ultimate goal.
Each inspection is recorded for posterity which means a detailed schedule of condition is automatically created. Records can then be retrieved and reviewed to examine progress over time.
Where Can Drone Inspections be Useful?
Construction – the drone is a natural fit here in terms of assessing project progress, recording infrastructure, reporting to stakeholders, and generally improving operational efficiency.
Chemical and Other Storage Facilities – regular and thorough inspections can prevent loss of product and damage to facilities.
Insurance – Fast damage assessment and detailed collection can speed up the claims process for all involved.
Emergency Services and Public Safety – Drones have found a growing role within the emergency services from being deployed by Search and Rescue teams to surveying ongoing fire and accident scenes providing real-time information to aid response planning and personnel deployment.
Utility and Infrastructure – Inspections of many types of infrastructure can mean increased responsiveness to maintenance needs. Drones can cover large areas quickly and without involving teams of staff in potentially dangerous situations or having to cross inaccessible terrain. Service disruption is also minimalised.
Agriculture – Agriculture was an early adopter of UAV technology to monitor crops and livestock, understanding irrigation issues, and creating 3D maps for detailed planning.
Renewable Energy – With Governments encouraging increased use of solar and wind farms, so correspondingly maintenance requirements have increased maximum productivity. A camera in the sky, particularly when equipped with thermal capabilities is ideally placed to rapidly scan for faults.
Drones can offer significant advantages over traditional inspection methods in so many areas. Get in touch to find out how Drone Media Imaging can help you to achieve your business goals whilst reducing costs.
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