Visual inspection of structures, powerlines, buildings, road and rail bridges and communication towers (for example) are a critical process to ensure that these structures, communication devices and transportation links are operating to as close to 100% efficiency as possible.

The downtime disruption that can be caused when these things go down is never small so being able to monitor them on a regular basis is a crucial part of the day to day business runnings of these sector and service providers.

If you imagine the disruption that is caused to transportation networks when snow storms hit, the same example of disruption can be used if a powerline collapses or a railway bridge has to be taken out of service for emergency repairs.

Regular visual inspection can spot these developing issues early and allow companies to plan repairs and servicing around optimum times to minimise disruption. Not to mention the cost savings of catching these things early. A simple weld repair on a storm damaged powerline support is a lot cheaper than having to build a completely new powerline support.

visual inspection using drones
Visual Inspections using aerial drones is made easier in difficult to access locations

The advantage of using drone inspections for visual inspection

A ‘traditional’ inspection of a buildings cladding would require either significant scaffolding set up or a team of rope access specialists. High rise tower blocks can take days to inspect and at great expense. An aerial drone equipped with thermal cameras can cover an entire building surface in a single morning. The high definition video allows you to visually inspect areas of a building in great detail and from multiple angles while thermal imaging can spot heat loss and water penetration points that the naked eye would simply miss.

Reducing risk to human life

Whether it be the side of a high rise building, a wind turbine in the North Sea or down a confined high risk tunnel passage, the use of drones for visual inspection means that human life does not have to be put at risk.

Visual Line of Site

The abbreviated term VLOS may only be four letters but it is of vital importance for the visual drone inspection work we provide for our customers. Much in the same way that VFR (Visual Flight Rules) is applied to manned aircraft, VLOS forms part of the regulations set out by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for piloting an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for drone inspection work.

By their nature, unmanned aerial vehicles do not have the pilot on-board, rather they are controlled by remote control piloting. This means that a drone pilot/operator must always maintain visual line of sight on the drone during inspection flights. This line of sight must be unaided or enhanced using the likes of binoculars or thermal night vision goggles (for example).

Find out more

If you would like to know more about drone inspection and the capabilities of visual inspections, please contact our Glasgow head office by calling 0141 370 4037