Drones in Confined Spaces
From construction to promotion, industrial to house building. A drone survey for your project is the safest way to save time & money
The need to inspect awkward spaces is present in virtually all industries. Strict regulations, HSE guidelines, and aging assets need frequent, and more complex inspections. Silos, tanks, sewers, pipes, access shafts, chimneys, boilers, or underground cables, for instance.
So how can using drones in confined spaces help?
Work in confined spaces often carries many risks, for instance:
- Insufficient amount of oxygen for the worker to breathe
- Presence of hazardous chemical or biological substances
- Risk of fire or explosion
- Mechanical hazards: moving parts, structural hazards, slips, falls, collapse, or falling debris
These risks are expensive to mitigate in terms of protective equipment, administrative time, and safety measures.
Importantly, downtime is very costly, i.e the time required for the preparation and setup of possible access methods such as scaffolding.
The Case for Drones
Using drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for indoor use, could sound like a stretch. The most common uses for drones feature wide-open spaces covering large areas such as agriculture or power line inspection.
Yet, UAVs have a huge advantage, their versatility. Their mobility allows access to virtually any place, from any angle, regardless of the shape or material of the environment.
This versatility also enables many tasks with the same device inside the plant, shortening the time to return on investment.
But, the use of drones indoors requires a major problem to be solved: the risk of collisions. In-flight collisions are the nightmare of any UAV pilot. That is to say, even the best pilots cannot reliably avoid contact with obstacles in complex spaces, more so when flying beyond the visual line of sight.
Many other challenges await drones flying indoors – firstly, turbulences due to the small air volume or drafts inside the confined space. Secondly, dust, signal and complete darkness, and thirdly, reflective surfaces reducing image quality are also challenges.
Our UAVs are only 40cm in diameter and can tolerate any collision in flight without disruption. As demonstrated in this video, the lighting and transmission system are also designed to adapt to this environment.
In conclusion, these unique capabilities enable indoor visual and thermal inspections in confined spaces instead of sending workers into high-risk environments.