It’s been in the news headlines the past few months. A lingering problem that air traffic governing bodies can’t seem to solve. Whenever you read about airports and drones in the same sentence, it usually means trouble. Numerous instances of drones nearly colliding with drones observed recently. Even more are drones that fly too close to planes. It really seems that drone users can’t get enough of the unlimited airspace that the sky provides. Even with all this freedom, they seem to think busy airports are the places to be.
If there is even a threat of a drone near a plane, drastic measures immediately get underway. From cancelling flights to rerouting destinations, air traffic control takes extra caution in these events. Surely, the phrase “drone near plane” would create a panic in terminals.
Airbus Drone Inspectors:
With the recent near-misses involving drones and airplanes, you would be surprised with what Airbus is up to. The aeronautical manufacturing company are actually sending their drones right next to their planes. For inspection, that is. The plane is stationary inside a terminal, and the drone is there to inspect damage. So, it makes sense in context.
The drones they use can visually check its target aircraft faster than human inspection. Called the Advanced Inspection Drone, it is a custom-built quadcopter that checks for damage on planes. Either it is because of fears of damage during the last flight, or simply a general inspection; drones get it done faster. This would mean that the plane’s downtime due to inspection would be shorter. And of course, it means more time for the plane going to and from airports.
The drone has a powerful navigation system that makes it possible to dodge and maneuver through obstacles. This means there’s zero chance for it to bump into the many structures inside airports while doing their job. This also makes sure the drone doesn’t crash into the plane it is currently trying to inspect. Using its camera, it takes high resolution pictures of the outside of the plane. These drones then send the photos to operators who will check them for any aberrations.
The efficiency of the Advanced Inspection Drone shows its results with the time frame. Humans could fully inspect all parts of the plane in at least a day. The drone can give data for the plane within 3 hours. A massive difference in a field where time is always at the essence.