Airbus is demonstrating a new automated, drone-based aircraft inspection system that accelerates and facilitates visual inspections, considerably reducing aircraft downtime while simultaneously increasing the quality of inspection reports.
Unveiled today at the MRO Americas exposition in the U.S. state of Florida, the Advanced Inspection Drone is designed for use within a hangar. Once launched by an operator, it follows a predefined inspection path, capturing high-resolution images of the aircraft’s structure while keeping a safe distance through its built-in laser-based obstacle detection and anti-collision system.
High quality pictures are sent wirelessly to a rugged tablet for the operator’s review in real-time. They subsequently are transferred to a desktop inspection station, where a technician makes thorough reviews of the images using a dedicated software system that localises and measures any visual surface damage by comparing the real-world images against the aircraft’s 3D structural model. The advanced imaging tools allow for an accurate defect assessment, while the software generates a report to complete the full inspection cycle.