Intel thinks it could use drones to make infrastructure a little safer, perhaps even making safety checks for bridges something that's done automatically. This week Intel CEO Brian Krzanich presented the company's vision for how its commercial drones can perform inspections and close mapping that have previously required putting human inspectors in some precarious positions.

In his opening keynote at the AUVSI Xponential robotics and unmanned systems conference in Dallas, Krzanich shared a simulation video showing off the abilities of Intel's Falcon 8+ drone and Mission Control software.

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You can watch the video for yourself below, which simulates a Falcon 8+ with a front on-board camera and a digital SLR camera mounted on a gimbal at the rear that gives it the ability to rotate and capture images pointing upwards from the underside of a structure like a bridge.

The company has touted the drone and its ability to capture detailed images down to millimeter resolution as an ideal solution for inspections and detailed mapping of all sorts of structures.

"For example, oil rig inspections can be extremely dangerous, costly and time-consuming," says Anil Nanduri, vice president of unmanned systems. "By incorporating the Intel Falcon 8+ System into an oil rig inspection, businesses are able to transform dozens of critical tasks including aerial surveying/mapping, inspection, progress reporting, and collecting liability evidence, while increasing productivity and helping make their employees safer than before."

Such processes, which would normally require a highly skilled drone pilot to repeat inspections as frequently as every six to 12 months, could be automated using Intel's Mission Control software, which can handle flight planning and management, and data processing afterwards.

After a flight and the data is synced, the software can begin to provide analysis, comparisons with previously collected data and initial insights at the inspection site. When combined with other software, if can also generate 3D models of structures.

Krzanich also revisited some other practical field uses for Intel's drones that we've highlighted in recent months, such as performing aircraft inspections and using a different model – Intel's Shooting Star drone – to put on some pretty impressive light shows.

He said his company will be ramping up production of the Falcon 8+ for the North American market and releasing the Mission Control software later this year.

Sources: Intel (1), (2)

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