How can the use of remotely piloted aircraft systems truly fulfil the promise of creating efficiency's, maximising insight and increasing safety? The answer: A careful approach, meticulous planning and a deep understanding of the limits of the technology.
Future Aerial have extensive history in bridge inspections having performed some of the first ever significant UAV inspections in the UK.
Bridges present a good example of the incredible cost savings that can be gained by using drone technology (we can create an average of ¼ to a 1/3rd cost saving) with increased quality of data and significant time efficiency's gained over a 100% traditional rope access inspection. Bridges also present a good example of the scale of complexity and planning that need to be employed to add this value in terms of logistics, legality and safety.
Working closely with XEIAD (engineering and rope access company) as part of a sub deck principle inspection of the main span of the QEII Bridge, Future Aerial were able to collect high definition imagery of approximately 500m of the most difficult access over the river Thames.
Even a small and seemingly simple bridge inspection often requires hours of detailed planning, risk assessments and a thorough methodology but the QEII Bridge is a long way from being small or simple. Crossing one of the UK’s busiest waterways and carrying one of London’s main arterial motorways, the M25, is also a highly monitored potential terrorist target with 24 hour military surveillance above and below the waterline.
Whilst the planning process for the QEII Bridge was several months in the making with the inclusion of the bridge Management Company, Thames Port Authority, local police, London ATC, all local emergency services, local council, etc. Future Aerial’s bespoke planning systems utilising Dronecloud allow us to take extremely complex projects and make them turn-key.
Future aerial innovation cycle is simple:
- Work with clients to find a challenge where we believe we can add value
- Proof of Concept
- Using the FDC (Futuredronecloud) make it a “turn-key” Product
- Roll the ‘Product’ to a repeatable simplified process for change monitoring.
Below is an example of the level of detail Future Aerial attained allowing Engineers to examine individual bolts in otherwise extremely difficult areas to access.
Future Aerial effectively replicates some of the detail gained through the use of rope access, without the traffic control requirements, and at significantly lower cost in terms of equipment and traffic control needs. Future Aerial can provide 3D modelled and infrared outputs of bridges and related structures, effectively identify concrete delamination, steel degradation and other areas in need of attention or physical intervention.