There is an increasing trend to use drones for inspections of chimneys, building facades, telecom towers and many other engineering structures. Drone based inspections are superior to conventional inspection techniques that have been used for decades. There are many reasons and we list a few here.
Benefits Of Drones For Conducting Inspections
- Erecting scaffolding is expensive and risky. Generally only a small fraction of structures being inspected actually need repairs or physical access. Avoiding erecting scaffolding would save the client a lot of money.
- While regulatory reasons require you to do inspections every 5 years or so, doing quick drone inspections can have a lot of advantages. Quickly detecting and addressing issues before they become serious safety problems is always a good idea. Doing this efficiently at a lower cost will reduce clients a lot of money & increase drone pilot’s ROI on the drones.
- Drone operators can add inspections to their repertoire of services and get a better ROI on their drone investments.
Downsides Of Using Videos For Conducting Inspections
Generally, we have noticed that drone pilots use high definition (4k) videos for inspections.
This has many problems.
- Going through a 15 min or longer video, frame by frame, looking for a problem is very tedious. When one does this often there is a high likelihood of missing out the actual problem.
- Video frames are not geo-referenced. I.e., if you find a problem in the 12th minute of a video it is not obvious where the problem is on the physical structure.
- Finally, we believe, increasingly we will see the use of artificial intelligence or machine learning to automatically detect problems. This is harder to do with video frames, due to the quality of still frames extracted from the video.
Why You Should Be Inspecting With Images
- Organizing the collected images in 3D space, to help you navigate easily around the subject being inspected.
- When a defect is detected the corresponding image is annotated and a related issue is created. These issues can be shared with stakeholders and tracked all the way up to resolution.
- And finally, an automated flight plan makes an inspection easy by removing guess work and avoiding missing out any part of the subject being inspected.
At Aspec Scire we have come up with a superior way to do inspections using images from drones. Aspec Scire’s Vimana is a SaaS based product that helps organize drone images so that remote users in a central office can do inspections efficiently and inexpensively.