Drones to be used for inspecting roads

Asset management inspections will be carried out by drones – making it safer, quicker and easier to assess vital infrastructure such as roads, bridges and railways.

A joint venture between Amey and leading drone technology expert VTOL Technologies saw them launch The Flying Wing at the Farnborough Airshow yesterday (12 July).

Richard Butterfield, AmeyVTOL’s service development director, said: “Doing more with less is a challenge most businesses will understand. As asset managers, we’re often asked to deliver cost efficiencies for our clients while increasing inspections to meet the growing demands on the UK’s networks.

“Using this cutting-edge technology to inspect the vital infrastructure that we all rely on is a world first. It will change the way we inspect assets forever; allowing us to assess at the touch of a button, make real-time recommendations and potentially save millions of pounds for our clients.”

AmeyVTOL’s patented unmanned autonomous drone, known as The Flying Wing, is at the forefront of long-range, beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), remotely piloted aerial systems (RPAS) autonomous drone technology worldwide and offers a number of benefits.

The Flying Wing will carry ground penetrating radar, high definition video and still, infrared, thermal and light detection and ranging sensors, amongst others. It can take off and land anywhere, travel far, at speeds of up to 60kph and change direction to precisely map the same route over and over, regardless of weather conditions. It also has the added benefit of capturing data in real time and streaming it live to a data processing engine.

Mark Shaw, director for AmeyVTOL, added: “Our unique and patented Flying Wing outperforms existing drones and represents the future of aerial inspections. We’re really excited to be introducing this market-leading technology which will revolutionise the asset management industry to deliver repeatable, consistent and accurate inspections as early as 2018.”

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