Drone Survey What Is Involved
Drone survey is the use of drone technology to combat a variety of maintenance solutions around assets and infrastructure in any industry that might require regular or dynamic maintenance techniques. Drone survey is the current most disruptive innovation we have seen in recent years and although drones and their very nature are difficult to comprehend by many, they are essential for any industry wanting to move forward.
Drone survey can embellish your current maintenance program by providing essential data that might normally only be available during shutdown periods and prolonged outages of specific areas.
Drone survey in the first instance is essentially the safest method of surveying assets and infrastructure currently available. There is no requirement for a manned element during any part of the survey, at height or in arduous areas that may be deemed potentially dangerous for manned inspection techniques.
When assessing risk, the first mitigation is always how can we achieve the same results without the inherent danger to personnel. Drone survey (s) are now able to combat this issue.
Drone Survey Vs Traditional Survey
Due to the nature of drone survey it eliminates the requirement for prolonged access methods such as scaffold, ladders, lengthy MEWP hire contracts, Teams of rope access personnel or cranes with work baskets. Generally, all that is required is a UAV pilot and an observer (dependent on the project undertaken).
This alone reduces the costs significantly and although a higher day rate will no doubt be obvious, the time taken in comparison to anything else on the market will be significantly reduced by up to weeks (dependent on project) This combined with improved safety is a winning combination of innovation and disruptive technology.
Improved Data Acquisition
Drone survey technology can provide superior outputs via a live feed to a designated ground station, providing hi-resolution visual evidence to the project team if required or recorded directly to the onboard memory and uploaded and analysed at a later date. A report can be established pinpointing any remedial requirements giving the project team an accurate analysis and targeted area to plan any corrective actions, without the need for a wrap around access solution such as scaffold or team of rope access technicians.
The data collated during the drone survey can be used for years to come creating a formidable trend analysis providing data that can be utilised to analyse, erosion, defect, deterioration, Corrective and planned maintenance and overlaid to compare with previous years. Allowing project team to better assign budgets and plan outage or maintenance periods.
Time taken to complete visual, geographic or standard structural surveys can be extremely time consuming with the rising costs of traditional access methods which would generally require teams of qualified men to either erect and operate said equipment. Can run into weeks if not months. For instance, to erect a wrap-around solution such as a scaffold to carry out an inspection of the upper elevation of a building may run into weeks prior to a qualified assessor providing their services on the condition by scaling the scaffold by hand which again could run on. Drone survey is the only solution that combats the traditional time-consuming issue.
Again relating to the above point the data collated by an assessor is visual but the quantity and quality of that data collection are not as effective as when acquired adopting drone survey resulting in hugely improved time scales which is the main contributing factor to cost efficiency.
Drone survey and the services that encompass it can be carried out with minimal disruption to the surrounding environment. Drastically improving logistics.
Road closures may be required when using traditional methods,
Prolonged shut down of certain elements to allow the access method to remain for the required period.
Traffic delays due to the offload of equipment such as a scaffold or access platforms
The potential for dropped objects into the public right of way
The potential for vandalism, allowing unqualified personnel to access scaffold or MEWP causing damage and potentially harming people
The potential for falls from height – Remote locations preventing use of traditional methods
There are certainly several issues around traditional methods and their work arounds which can be mitigated out utilising drone survey as a replacement or additional solution. There are obviously certain elements that may require consideration when using drones also but logistically allot easier to manage.