A Swiss-based drone company is making cell towers safer and cheaper to inspect thanks to an automated capture app.
Drone Harmony of Luzern, Switzerland has developed Cell Tower Scan, an Android app that uses the company’s UAV planning framework to complete cell-tower inspections in 5-10 minutes using quadcopters.
The framework includes a scene-centered workflow, a full 3D planning environment and obstacle avoidance.
Drone Harmony Chief Scientist David Adjiashvili explains:
“In a nutshell, we have made it as easy as possible for the pilot to obtain the quality data that is needed for this task. The flight plans in Drone Harmony are generated automatically and are tailored to a rough 3D model of the inspected tower. The model can be either imported, or easily constructed in the application using a simple wizard. Obstacles can also be included in the model and the generated plans avoid these obstacles automatically. Every step of the simple setup procedure is visualized in 3D, so there is very little uncertainty, or room for error. Finally, the app flies the drone automatically.”
Geospatial provider iGlobe Group is testing the app, reducing overall inspection times from 19 to 8 hours.
“With a drone, it is possible to capture the tower at ultra-high resolution from all angles,” Adjiashvili added. “This data can be fed into photogrammetry software to create a digital model of the tower which can be the basis of much more complete and in-depth inspection. These models can also be fed into an analytics program for automatic detection corrosion and report generation.”
Drone Harmony works with several industry partners on drone workflow automation for various industrial use cases, including Bentley System’s Reality Modelling team, SiteSee (AUS), The iGlobe Group (RSA), VertSpec (USA) and EasyInspect (Denmark), as well as dozens of customers and resellers around the world.
“I’m excited how this technology can simultaneously solve several pain points for an industry that is ready for its adoption at scale,” Adjiashvili said. “With 5G becoming the next standard in the industry leading to a vast increase in the cell sites, these pain points are only projected to increase, so the timing is perfect.”
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