Traditional infrastructure inspection and monitoring is often time consuming and potentially dangerous when vertical structures such as transmission lines, bridges, and wind turbines need to be inspected. A method that is less expensive and less time consuming, as well as safer for inspectors, is needed.
With tight work schedules, the need for ongoing inspection required to ensure the safe operation of infrastructure, and cost control remaining paramount, the challenge is to effectively use emerging technologies to better support inspection programs.
Employing UAV technology to replace/augment visual inspection and data collection can provide both a time and cost saving. Working with a variety of sensors, such as RGB cameras, LiDAR scanners, and thermal devices designed to operate on small UAVs, the inspector can now capture the information required to complete the inspection without conducting manual surveys or placing inspectors in dangerous situations. In order to collect detailed photos and LiDAR scans, Trimble's Applanix products provide survey-grade positioning and orientation technology that features an OEM GNSS-inertial solution with dual GNSS antenna input, designed to georeference LiDAR and other imaging data when collected from UAVs at low speeds or when hovering – ideal for inspection work!