Some areas that need inspection are rooftops, tall buildings, bridges, and large storage tanks. To reach these areas, workers normally set up scaffolding, ladders or machinery. This can be dangerous and scary, especially for a person who is afraid of heights. A worker could fall, or tools could be dropped on a worker below. Everyone is exposed to safety hazards.
A solution is to use drones to reach the high areas and perform inspection. High resolution cameras and infrared cameras can be attached to the drone, and workers are able to inspect tall objects with their feet on the ground. Some parts may need further inspection, but the use of drones helps workers to minimize the amount of time they are in a hazardous situation.
Common places non-destructive testing is performed is at gas compressor stations, power plants, and nuclear facilities. Performing inspection in these areas exposes workers to harmful gases and radioactivity. Workers can attach a sensor to a drone and fly it into a hazardous area to check for harmful gases and radioactivity. Workers are able to assess and area while staying safe.
With worker safety as a top priority, AER is actively working with regulatory agencies to explore the benefits of using drones for visual and thermal assessments under 250 ft.