Indoor Drone Flying has its disadvantages regarding autonomous flight but has many benefits including
- No CAA Licence required – The CAA is only interested in external airspace and has updated its ANO (Air Navigation Order) to reflect this – in short, if it cant escape into an external airspace then it now falls under Health and Safety and not the Airspace legislator. This also goes further to include netted structures. Having said that, your Health and Safety may want you to have a licence as a competency requirement much like a driving licence but this could also be an in-house course. https://www.caa.co.uk/Consumers/Unmanned-aircraft/Recreational-drones/Recreational-drone-flights/
- Small drones can reach places for inspection where it may be impractical to send a person i.e. confined spaces or into tall buildings to alleviate the working at height risks or cover search areas with thermal imaging to look for people or faults.
So I am liking this concept and sure enough there is a solution on the market – Enter the ELIOS 2 from Flyability. At this point I will say that I am not on commission and have only seen one of these on display by COPTRZ at the GeoBusiness day.
So this drone is in the realms of £25k but it boasts the following:-
- Collision resilient cage (Carbon Fibre 40cm Diameter)
- GPS free Stabilization
- Distance Lock from object if monitoring one object – i.e. an automated process or inspecting structures – I am thinking visual inspections of aircraft skin joints in a hangar would be one great application with the oblique lighting. Thermal imaging of composits in-situ (an authorised work process would be required of course) etc
- 4k Camera
- Thermal Camera (FLIR)
- 180 degree tilting camera pod
- Adjustable and Oblique Lighting upto 10k lumens. This is also Dustproof.
- FPV without line of sight
- Flight and Reporting is performed via the Cockpit 2 software
- 1 day of training to get the most out of it.
- Transport case
- Remote Control (2.4GHz) and Samsung Tablet
- IATA approved for carry on Luggage
All that with a 10 minutes flight time but with a 1 min battery change time, you could inspect whatever you wanted and send the video or images to the relevent qualified person to study.
One minute a 737 Bulkhead inspection, the next an A380 paint inspection after a storm – One person on location and the expensive engineers at home base for the time duration required – no more or less. Maybe even some post maintenance inspections can be performed remotely this way reducing senior engineers physically onsite.
What does this mean – No more flying teams of engineers with every tool for every eventuality or erecting scaffolding to inspect/appraise faults. You just need a drone operator and a remote engineer.
Imagine the time resource this will free from travel as well as the carbon footprint. This is Proactive Workforce management but of course Regulations and best practices apply and as always I am trying to start a conversation with ideas for you to debate not go ahead and act based on what you have read. Please see site usage terms and conditions for more information.
If you do, please let them know you saw it here and they may let me review one.