Drones

Intel demonstrates drones' potential for automated infrastructure inspections

The Falcon 8+ can tote a camera in back in addition to its on board camera in front
The Falcon 8+ can tote a camera in back in addition to its on board camera in front
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Intel plans to ramp up production of its Falcon 8+ commercial drone
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Intel plans to ramp up production of its Falcon 8+ commercial drone
The Falcon 8+ can tote a camera in back in addition to its on board camera in front
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The Falcon 8+ can tote a camera in back in addition to its on board camera in front
Intel's Falcon 8+ is a commercial octocopter
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Intel's Falcon 8+ is a commercial octocopter
Intel's Falcon 8+ boasts a gimbal that can boost a digital SLR into position for inspections
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Intel's Falcon 8+ boasts a gimbal that can boost a digital SLR into position for inspections
The Falcon 8+ can tote a camera in back in addition to its on board camera in front
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The Falcon 8+ can tote a camera in back in addition to its on board camera in front

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 demonstrated the abilities of Intel's Falcon 8+ drone and Mission Control software, which you can see in the video below.

Intel Demonstrates Falcon 8+ System at AUVSI XPONENTIAL

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.

Intel's Falcon 8+ boasts a gimbal that can boost a digital SLR into position for inspections
Intel's Falcon 8+ boasts a gimbal that can boost a digital SLR into position for inspections

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)

4 comments
Dan Lewis
I'm amazed that the personal drone industry has not yet awoken to the idea that ALL prop propelled drones should have encompassing protective barriers. In other words - Wow, is the drone industry stupid for not yet offering spherical protectors for each and every prop set. There shouldn't be an exposed set of propellers anywhere. A company that makes aftermarket protective spheres of wicker/bamboo or plastic is going to make lots of money.
MD
Dan. Makes sense. Until it is realised that the marginal performance of many multicopters (and all aircraft with rotating propulsors/wings) may be negatively impacted by an effort to fully enclose the propeller to such an extent. ( Try preaching to a helicopter designer) Prop guards do exist, but mainly for small units which are likely to operate in the sphere of small people and fingers, ie. toys. At an industrial level proximity sensors and robust planning goes a long way towards minimising risk of hazard.
HubertSantanaSchenk
I have some tests with a Walkera-Hexacopter (ca 750 mm Ausenduchmesser) with a protective ring. But bad luck - he was barely controllable and although the ring consisted of a plastic tube he fell off. With symmetrical octacoops one can do something: extend the tramegma by more than half the propeller diameter.
Doug Thaler
Drones are also good for other infrastructure and bridge inspections. Good tool for inspectors. Will become better over time. Robotics still light years ahead to provide asset owners with quantitative data.
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