Commercial drones are becoming an essential tool for site inspections. Drones can significantly reduce inspection times while providing reliable data ultimately take better informed decisions. More important than the hardware itself is the analytics it provides: IT platforms designed to provide robust analytics of aerial data are helping industries across the globe to achieve operational efficiency
The challenges of current inspection methods are related to time, costs, data reliability, and risk. Because current methods rely on visual inspection, and depending on the site, they can take several weeks to complete. The time-consuming aspect directly relates to the heavy use on manpower, which coupled with the need for special equipment to successfully perform these inspection can result in a significant increase in cost. These methods can also challenge maintenance operators to effectively identify and document all issues on site, which can have a clear impact on data completeness and reliability. Finally, inspection and maintenance staff are often exposed to working in high risk conditions.
Transformative technologies like the Internet of Things and machine learning are shaping up the future of operational efficiency across various industries. Many of the challenges associated with current inspection methods are being addressed by drone enterprise technologies. Drones use state-of-the-art imaging technology which can reduce inspection time to mere hours. These flights are typically performed by an operator which can free up resources to focus on exceptions. One of the most interesting aspects of drone inspections is their direct interface with enterprise platforms that provide detailed analytics and anomaly reports. These platforms can add significantly value to internal workflows to ensure a seamless and efficient operation. Drone inspections can also mitigate the risk of injuries for maintenance operators by collecting up close information from a safe distance.
These advantages are clear to certain industries; for instance, drones are starting to help utilities carry out predictive maintenance of electricity lines, solar panels, and wind turbines. But with the exponential growth of these technologies, industries will find the challenges to be more in terms of implementation and scalability. Choosing the right partners to support these operations will be paramount to successfull workflow and asset management.