Newly manufactured planes operating within their first economic lifetime require relatively little maintenance, but as an aircraft ages, frequent close inspection is mandatory. Now and in the past, this inspection regime involved expensive manpower.
Human inspectors are required to visually inspect an aircraft, using binoculars and heavy equipment such as cherry pickers to enable scrutiny. Given the size of an aircraft such as the Airbus A380 inspection by humans is a laborious process that can last up to 10 hours, involving multiple personnel. It is an unwelcome expense for airlines typically operating on thin margins.
Drones are manoeuvrable and have the computing power to make decisions on the fly, so to speak. Applying drone inspection for aircraft leads to two game-changing advantages:
These advantages imply that humans are no longer required to spend hours on a tedious and imperfect inspection process. Aircraft inspection by drone saves time and money.
Aircraft inspection by drone is increasingly in the news. Though there is much work to be done, drones are clearly getting close to taking over aircraft inspection duties:
The inspection duties of drones are merely starting at aircraft inspection. Drones have the ability to release human inspectors from risky duties inside sewage systems, mines and oil tankers. Inspection drones could connect with wide-spread sensors and learn from experience to furnish a level of inspection accuracy humans simply cannot attain.
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