Facility Assessment

4 Reasons to Use Drones for Remote Inspections

By: Caleb Goins

May 4, 2021

The global commercial unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) market has grown exponentially over the past decade, coming in at a valuation of over $6 billion in 2019. And with new uses for drone technology being discovered regularly, the market is poised to continue this growth. Just some of the industries whose daily operations are being improved by drones are construction, forestry, agriculture, and renewable energy. While there are various uses for drones, one of the most exciting developments has been their use for remote inspections. Remote inspections offer several benefits, a few of which are listed below.

Speed

With large assets often come lengthy inspections. Drones take the hours or sometimes days-long traditional inspection process and shorten it to a matter of minutes. For example, a drone could inspect and map 100 acres of forested land in a matter of minutes, providing a much faster turnaround for companies in the forestry industry as opposed to manual inspections. The same is true for large fields of crops for the agriculture industry.

Cost

Time is money, making the speed of drone inspections a huge selling point. Also, the aerial viewing and photography options that were once only available via helicopter or plane flyovers is more easily accessible and cost-efficient. Another example comes from the wind power industry, where drone-assisted maintenance checks eliminate much of the climbing associated with wind turbine blade inspections and reduce turbine downtime by 75%.

Safety

Safety is one of the most talked about benefits of remote inspections. Drones’ increased maneuverability allows them to capture difficult to reach spaces with ease, footage of which inspectors can view from a safe location. On construction sites, inspectors may traditionally be required to use complicated scaffolding or harness systems to access inspection sites. Thanks to increased maneuverability and accessibility, safety is enhanced.

Documentation

Drones are perfect for capturing conditions on any site. This serves as critical documentation for a project or asset. Their camera’s 4K resolution captures exponentially more data points, often too small for the human eye to catch. Because there is a video artifact that can be shared or revisited at any time, it also brings enhanced certainty that no detail was missed and can be a resource for future work.

Drones are changing the way that industries from agriculture, forestry, construction, or green energy are conducting inspections. Utilizing drones for remote inspections eliminates significant risk on otherwise complicated structure inspections and provides a faster and more cost-effective experience, all captured in high definition video.

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