Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why Use Drone Inspections?

By using drone inspection services, an asset manager can reduce the time that inspection personnel need to spend on the asset itself. So long as a mission’s flight route has been well planned, a drone can collect imagery data that covers the entire asset in a fraction of the time that it takes for inspection personnel to traverse it. It is usual that both visual and thermal imagery is collected.

After applying automated statistical processes to convert the imagery into a 3D ‘point cloud’, it is straightforward for skilled interpreters can identify locations and areas of deterioration on the building envelope. Since the data is being viewed in 3D, all areas of your asset can be visually interpreted and inspected.

As the data in the point cloud is geo-referenced with real-world geographic coordinates, a plan or a map can be provided to an inspection and maintenance team to identify areas of deterioration – before anyone needs to climb any ladders, scaffolding, undertake rope access procedures or walk on the roof.

We are concerned about the security of data held about our assets; how do you protect our privacy?

Data collected by us is held within a private cloud architecture, hosted by the IBM Data Centre.  We pre-approve our flight plans with the facility manager of the site before we fly, we only capture photos in accordance with this plan; all data is stored and analyzed beyond client-specific log-in credentials and levels of security.

Why do you fly your drone at night, and can I too?

Flying at night is a best-practice approach for building inspection, as it is at night that the building releases thermal energy that has been absorbed during the day, and deuterated elements of the building envelope can clearly be seen.

New fight regulations and approvals have been defined for nighttime drone flights though.  With our background in avionics and risk management, Industrial SkyWorks has led the market in North America by working with Transport Canada and the FAA to define the necessary regulations and standards; and have since been the first UAV operator in North America to obtain nighttime permissions in BOTH the US and Canada.  Needless to the say, the requirements for risk mitigation for nighttime flight are more onerous than during daylight hours.  Even now, only a handful of operators have secured nighttime authority in either country.

I have a drone; can I use your software?

Yes!

  • If you operate professional UAV flight operations, and:
  • have qualified inspection personnel on staff;

Our software solution is what is needed to improve the efficiency and quality of the analytical reports relied upon by your organization.

What type of drone do you use?

Industrial Skyworks operates a fleet of professional-grade UAV platforms.  The platform that we choose for a specific project will depend upon several factors such as the weight of the payload (i.e. how many cameras, and what type), the flight duration required by our flight plan, and the expected weather conditions expected onsite.

We typically operate multicopter platforms that permit controlled multi-axis maneuvers, can perform sustained hovering over areas of interest, utilized professional flight controllers with precise auto-pilot capabilities, industry-standard fail-safes, and the ability to easily operate in sustained winds of around 25mph (40kph).

What is a point cloud?

A ‘point cloud’ is a cluster of data points that has each been assigned a coordinate in accordance with a three-dimensional (i.e. x, y, z) axis.  Data points in a point cloud have usually been collected at very fine intervals across the surface an object (e.g. an asset, such as a flare stack)  In the case of point clouds produced from drone photography, there will typically be at least one data point registered in accordance with each pixel in the photos.

If viewed in its entirety, it is usually straightforward to be able to visualize the form of the asset in question from the outline of this cluster of points.

Since the point cloud consists of individual data points that have been produced by statistically correcting for common distortions that are seen in conventional photography, an interpreter can be confident in the location of any fatigue that they see on the asset.