October 11th, 2018 by Katrina Engelsted
Over the past few years, there has been a significant rise in the use of drones. While they were once primarily used for military purposes, they are now used by many companies commercially for drone surveying and inspection services. Aerial inspection services, bridge inspection services, and similar industries have all seen improvements thanks to drone surveying.
In the coming years, the drone surveying industry is expected to see rapid growth. Estimates from PwC show that the market for infrastructure drone solutions could grow to exceed $45 billion. Below, you’ll find the many advantages of drone surveying and examples of industries that could benefit from their use.
Drone Inspection Services are Cheaper and Quicker than Ever Before
Drone inspection services, also known as UAV inspection services, provide near real-time results more cheaply and safely than ever before. For example, imagine there is a hard-to-reach area in need of surveying, such as a cellular tower that was damaged during a hail storm. In years past, companies would have to send a crew to the job site and have them climb to the top of the cell tower using ladders, scaffolding, and ropes.
This process takes time and is incredibly expensive, as companies must pay for the labor hours for every one of the employees involved. Plus, these endeavors could prove to be dangerous. Employees are unaware of what they are going to encounter until they get to the top of the tower. Working at those heights, employees must take numerous precautions to ensure their safety.
But, thanks to drone surveying services, looking at the cell tower is as simple as sending one employee to the job site to man the drone. Companies can access results in a matter of minutes, allowing them to make real-time decisions that could help get them back on the grid quicker than ever before.
Another similar example can be seen when looking at wind turbines. Research shows that the inspection for one wind turbine costs companies roughly $1,500. However, thanks to drone inspections, the cost is cut in half. And, the risk of injury is reduced significantly. Because of the cost savings and reduction of risk, drone inspection services are invaluable.
Heavy Civil Infrastructure Companies
Those involved with large civil infrastructure projects could also benefit from drone surveying technology. For example, drones now provide access to bridge inspection services. In years past, companies would need to send teams of engineers onto the bridge and subject them to high-risk situations to evaluate the potentially vulnerable areas of a bridge.
Now more than ever, bridge inspection services are critical. Engineers estimate that in the United States, nearly nine percent of the bridges are structurally deficient. As the population continues to grow and more people use bridges, heavy civil infrastructure companies are going to need to work to keep bridges safe.
Thanks to drone surveying technology, they can pinpoint structural deficiencies immediately. This allows companies to allocate more funds to the construction process, as opposed to the surveying process.
Maritime Shipping Industry
UAV inspection services could also be particularly beneficial for the maritime shipping industry. The implementation of drones into this industry has already begun. The European Maritime Safety Agency has begun using drones to not only control the border, but to monitor things such as pollution, drug trafficking, and illegal fishing.
Companies in the maritime industry are also using drones to track shipments from the time they arrive in-port to the time they leave port. They are using UAV inspections to identify weaknesses in their supply chain so that they can better streamline their process.
Oil and Gas Inspection
The oil and gas industry benefits significantly from drone inspection services. That’s because these industries typically feature hard-to-reach areas. Additionally, identifying problematic areas is particularly important for these industries. Failure to identify problems could result in billions in damage, not to mention the countless lives that could potentially be in jeopardy.
A perfect example of how drone inspections are benefitting these industries can be seen in oil and gas pipelines. These pipelines typically stretch for hundreds, if not thousands of miles. When exposed, there could be a significant risk of weathering and cracking. Erosion tends to be a problem for pipelines, as companies need to ensure that their lines remain buried.
With drones, companies can survey their entire pipeline in a matter of hours. They can compare the current topography with existing images so that they can identify changes that have occurred over the past few months. Then, they can use these changes to pinpoint problematic patterns and trends. Gathering this information through drone surveying techniques saves these companies time and money.
Here at SolSpec, we have taken UAV inspections to the next level, not merely providing the imagery, but digitizing the data, analyzing it for factors such as slip and revegetation, and putting it into a holistic map viewer similar to Google Earth. We invite you to check out how we service enterprise industries such as oil and gas, utilities, mining, and civil construction, providing the fastest actionable results in the industry.