Drones

Drone helps Airbus fly through aircraft inspection

Drone helps Airbus fly through...
Airbus worked with drone outfit AscTec to create a modified Falcon 8 drone
Airbus worked with drone outfit AscTec to create a modified Falcon 8 drone
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Airbus worked with drone outfit AscTec to create a modified Falcon 8 drone
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Airbus worked with drone outfit AscTec to create a modified Falcon 8 drone
A human drone pilot supervises the flight and is able to take control if necessary
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A human drone pilot supervises the flight and is able to take control if necessary
The drone features Intel RealSense cameras for intelligent obstacle navigation and a 42-megapixel full-frame camera for data capture
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The drone features Intel RealSense cameras for intelligent obstacle navigation and a 42-megapixel full-frame camera for data capture
Airbus worked with drone outfit AscTec to create a modified Falcon 8 drone
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Airbus worked with drone outfit AscTec to create a modified Falcon 8 drone
Using the drones has reduced the time required for inspection from two hours to as little as 10 minutes
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Using the drones has reduced the time required for inspection from two hours to as little as 10 minutes
The drone is set to fly a predetermined route around a plane, during which it systematically and automatically take a series of photos
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The drone is set to fly a predetermined route around a plane, during which it systematically and automatically take a series of photos
In addition to making the process quicker and allowing images to be easily reexamined, the drones make it safer and more comfortable for inspectors
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In addition to making the process quicker and allowing images to be easily reexamined, the drones make it safer and more comfortable for inspectors
The photos that are taken by the drone are examined by inspectors as 3D models of the plane
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The photos that are taken by the drone are examined by inspectors as 3D models of the plane
It is possible to zoom and pan around the images
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It is possible to zoom and pan around the images
View gallery - 9 images

Understandably, drones aren't usually welcome around airplanes, but Airbus is making an exception to that rule. The aerospace firm has been testing and demonstrating how drones can be used for quality inspection before planes are delivered to customers.

Previously, Airbus' quality inspectors had to go up in telescopic handler vehicles to examine aircraft and make sure there were no "non-conformities" such as defects, scrapes or dents. This process was a laborious one, and could take up to two hours. Using drones, though, the company has shown how it has reduced that time to as little as 10 minutes.

Airbus worked with drone outfit AscTec to create a modified Falcon 8 drone with Intel RealSense cameras for intelligent obstacle navigation and a 42-megapixel full-frame camera for data capture. The drone is set to fly a predetermined route around a plane, during which it systematically and automatically take a series of photos. A human drone pilot supervises the flight and is able to take control if necessary.

In addition to making the process quicker and allowing images to be easily reexamined, the drones make it safer and more comfortable for inspectors
In addition to making the process quicker and allowing images to be easily reexamined, the drones make it safer and more comfortable for inspectors

Up to 150 photos are typically captured and these are then examined by inspectors as 3D models of the plane. It's possible to zoom and pan around the images so as to look closer at certain areas, with the data said to ultimately help improve traceability, prevention and damage reduction.

In addition to making the process quicker and allowing images to be easily reexamined, the drones make it safer and more comfortable for inspectors, who will no longer have to be lifted up in telescopic handlers regardless of weather conditions.

The system is being tested on Airbus A330 and A350 aircraft, after which it is expected to be rolled out for use on all aircraft from next year. It's being demonstrated at this year's Farnborough Airshow in the UK, which runs until July 17.

The video below shows how the drones are being used.

Source: Airbus
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View gallery - 9 images
4 comments
GlassHalfEmpty
This gives confidence :
"Previously, Airbus' quality inspectors had to go up in telescopic handler vehicles to examine aircraft and make sure there were no "non-conformities" such as defects, scrapes or dents. This process was a laborious one, and could take up to two hours. Using drones, though, the company has shown how it has reduced that time to as little as 10 minutes".
So, they are saving a whopping 110 minutes on an important inspection directly by human eyes, replacing with looking through low resolution screen.
Then, they will use those 110 minutes for what? Eating lunch?
habakak
@GlassHalfEmpty....why do people like you always whine about change? It is a much safer and better method of inspection. The photos can be stored forever and re-examined, as well as forming a historical picture of the condition of the plane.
Saving time anywhere in a process is good (as long as it delivers the same or better quality result). That's how things get better and become more affordable. This one thing won't do that, but do it for 1000 processes and it does.
Howe
Interesting, but I doubt it's as good as someones eyes looking directly at the aircraft. I don't get why they made their own drone to do it...have they never heard of the DJI Phantom? You can get a Phantom 4 with a 4k camera and a VR headset for under 2 grand...why on earth would you spend a butt load on something worse?
GlassHalfEmpty
@hababak My issue is about this specifically (did u read the article?): "how drones can be used for quality inspection before planes are delivered to customers".
I welcome change and new technologies, only where appropriate. So, don't whine about my whining about inappropriate use of drones.