The drone inspection business requires being a very skilled pilot who also has a thorough knowledge of photography. Obviously, it is not possible to do inspections of numerous industries with great skill, but the knowledge and skill will depend on the type of inspections chosen.
Drones can be used effectively for inspection purposes because aerial shots provide a larger field of view. But even more important, drones ensure that workers–human beings–will not be endangered during the process.
Drone inspection covers air and sea assets. Companies are already using drones to do inspections in the following fields:
- Storage Terminal
- Cooling Towers
- Offshore Platforms
- UtilitySolar Panel
- Ballast Tanks
- Tank Farm Mapping/Surveying
- Cooling Towers
- Elevated Pipe Trays
- Emergency Response
- Live Flare Stacks
- Floating Roof Storage Tanks
- Pipeline Right of Way
- Abandoned/Unsafe Structures
- Solar installation safety and effectiveness
- Wind Turbines
- Historic Sites
- Archaeological Sites
- Boilers & HRSGs
- Cargo Ship Holds
- Tank Cars
Submersible Drones (ROVs)
- Maritime Areas
- Subsea Canals
- Subsea Piping/Pipelines
- Sunken Structures
- Water Towers
Video from unmanned aerial systems is being used to secure sensitive locations and areas from unwanted trespassers to detecting and documenting theft. A quadcopter equipped with a thermal imaging camera can rapidly survey/inspect a large area, such as 200 acres, with great detail. It is also more cost-effective to hire one security officer with an unmanned aerial surveillance system that can quickly cover a large area of difficult terrain than it is to hire several security officers who would need to work at different posts distributed throughout the property.
Drones can access cluttered spaces, such as where complex pipes are laid inside construction walls, to collect hard to reach information. These drones feature built-in light (LEDs) for visibility with a versatile protective cage which allows the drone to rebound off of obstructions. Obviously, the inspection cost is reduced and workers’ safety is improved.
Similarly, drones can help with the efficient and precise inspection of renewable generators, like wind turbines, which are often spread out over wide territories. Wind turbine blades require regular inspection and companies would often send workers out to inspect the equipment with binoculars or, if more intensive inspection was necessary, by climbing the turbines. Drones can allow operators to perform up-close inspections in a much more efficient, less costly, and safe manner.
Because information from drones is processed automatically, investors have swift access to complex data enabling a quick response and an effective analysis of results.
Unmanned vehicles can save businesses not only vast amounts of money, but even more importantly, they can reduce liability exposure from having workers in moderate or extreme danger, especially at high levels. Due to such danger, AT&T has been using drones to inspect cell towers which have a history of communication tower-related deaths.
An inspector in a vehicle will need a lot of time to go through any large facility/area and they can still miss important information. Aerial footage and photography present the big picture, which makes it easier to accurately assess situations and form relevant and more informed decisions.
Drones are particularly valuable for inspecting difficult-to-reach areas at certain altitudes or in contaminated environments safely and at a fraction of traditional costs and time.
Drones can be used to cover a large area safely, in a short period of time, and cost-effectively, whether in the air or in water.
We have seen that drone inspection covers both air and sea assets. Furthermore, companies are already using drones to do inspections in at least 9 subsea fields/markets with the use of submersible drones and 36 markets with the use of drones.
Few businesses, if any, have such a rich variety of opportunities as the drone inspection business.