AUTOMATING AERIAL INSPECTION: CHALLENGES IN UAV DATA ANALYSIS
In the right place, at the right time – while inspecting structural cable integrity at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, the drone captured the collapse of this majestic scientific structure. UAV inspections became the default go-to solution for almost every industry that requires visual inspection as a part of maintenance procedures.
The Arecibo observatory serves as a perfect use case of UAV inspection: the structure covers the area of 48 hectares, includes towers 100+ meters in height and kilometers of supporting steel cables – an imposing task for manual human inspection.
Automating UAV inspection footage analysis
While UAVs are the best tool for access in such places, they only perform half of the job. The remaining part – footage analysis – is still performed by human operators. This is a huge bottleneck when you have to deal with a vast amount of data.
Enter the age of AI and Computer Vision. This year EasyFlow – a specialist in video analysis – introduced a visual inspection suite aimed at UAV operators which automates most common tasks in aerial inspection. The platform includes specialist models to identify structural defects, vegetation overgrowth and many other aspects required for transportation, industrial, pipeline or power grid aerial inspection. Besides, the suite provides a flexible framework to adapt ML models for particular client applications.
Beyond visual inspection
In addition to visual analysis, drones can be equipped with specialized sensors and cameras. EasyFlow UAV analysis suite also covers:
- UAV Lidar footage analysis. Lidar is based on sensors which send out pulses of laser light and measures the exact time it takes for these pulses to return as they bounce from the object. It also measures the intensity of that reflection.
- UAV Photometric footage analysis. Drones capture a large amount of images looking over the area. These images overlap in a way that the same point on the ground is visible in multiple images and from different vantage points. In the similar way the human brain uses information from both eyes to provide depth perception. Also, photogrammetry uses these multiple vantage points in images to generate a 3D map.
- UAV Thermal footage analysis. Thermal imaging cameras collect infrared images and constantly measure the surface temperature of the monitoring equipment. The front-end thermal imaging camera completes all the temperature measurement work, which will transmit infrared images and the original temperature measurement data to the information center or site work station, making the images out of signal compression, loss of signal and strong sense of anti-interference performance. It fundamentally guarantees the accuracy of the temperature data and stability.
With the following tools, AI software is an integral part of footage analysis, as it helps to improve the accuracy and efficiency of inspections.
EasyFlow: UAV analytics partner
The right UAV analytics partner can significantly boost inspection quality and performance. EasyFlow provides UAV video analysis services for clients all over the world. The company works with end clients, as well as third party UAV operators.
Ready to improve aerial inspection services? Contact us!