Airbus Drones Performing Critical New-Aircraft Inspection!
For decades, inspections of newly assembled aircraft have been conducted by humans in an exacting, carefully choreographed process that ensures high quality manufacturing and attainment of the highest safety standards in products rolling off the assembly lines. The techniques used to examine newly-built airliners evolve and improve, and, as shown by Gizmag, on-site flying robots that inspect airframes during assembly are at the heart of Airbus's recent leap forward.
Previously, Airbus quality inspectors had to ride perches on telescoping arms to ensure there were no non-conforming parts exhibiting defects, dents or scrapes. That process historically took up to two hours per plane, but with the advent of drones, it can take as few as 10 minutes. Airbus worked with AscTec to create a “modified Falcon 8 drone with Intel RealSense cameras for intelligent obstacle navigation and a 42-megapixel full-frame camera for data capture.”
"This a far safer and more comfortable approach for the data capture technicians. Up to 150 photos are typically captured and these are then examined by inspectors as 3D models of the plane. It’s possible to zoom and pan around the images so as to look closer at certain areas, with the data said to ultimately help improve traceability, prevention and damage reduction. The system is being tested on Airbus A330 and A350 aircraft, after which it is expected to be rolled out for use on all aircraft from next year on."