Drone Solution turns Aircraft Hangar into Smart Facility

Drone Solution turns Aircraft Hangar into Smart Facility

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Aircraft maintenance requires skills and complex equipment. An unmanned aerial system will now be able to perform aircraft inspection during maintenance. The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has authorized ST Engineering to use its in-house developed drone solution, DroScan to carry out General Visual Inspection (GVI) during aircraft maintenance. 

The company will be able to apply its drone solution on approved aircraft models such as the Airbus A320 family.

By using drones to physically carry out visual inspections, the technology eliminates the need to set up bulky ground equipment such as boom-lifts and workstands for inspectors to climb up and down during manual inspections. Inspectors can instead conduct indirect GVI using live video feed and post-flight images captured by the drones. 

Captured images can be fed through algorithms that detect and classify defects to assist the inspectors in the review process. 

As an end-to-end aircraft external general inspection solution, the technology is based on  automation and smart analytics to bring about higher efficiency and greater workplace safety during aircraft maintenance work. 

The drone technology integrates expertise in MRO, unmanned solutions and engineering skills to enhance the way aircraft inspection and maintenance are made in a safe and efficient manner. 

The technology digitally transforms hangars and facilities into a smarter environment.

In addition to smart analytics capability, DroScan is incorporated with safety features that could allow for future operations within Singapore’s civil aerodromes, according to aviationpros.com. 

These features include precise localization system to navigate in GPS-denied environment, power tethered system for extended flight duration and controlled safety template, multiple sensors for obstacles detection and geo-fencing to prevent the drone from straying out of flight template.

According to CAAS, this digital technology will enhance productivity and effectiveness in its operations. “Such innovations are in line with our vision to digitally transform the aviation industry. Especially, in this current COVID-19 environment, we hope to see an impetus for more of such novel solutions from our Singapore aviation companies”, said Kevin Shum, Director-General of CAAS.

The company aims to extend the application of DroScan to more aircraft models, including wide body platforms,as well as develop new robotic solutions for inspections that involve contact-based measurements.