Phase One Industrial and Aerial Technology International (ATI) have announced that the two companies have developed a professional aerial inspection tool that they claim could help revolutionize the way commercial and industrial structural visual inspections are done. An integrated ATI drone and high-resolution Phase One camera solution enables unprecedented visual accuracy while reducing costs and improving human safety.
The companies’ collaboration began with a project to inspect wind turbines. The ATI Thor X4 octocopter, and Phase One Industrial’s iXU 150 high-resolution industrial-quality medium format camera, performed a data acquisition experiment in which wind turbines were imaged to an high level of millimetre per pixel accuracy – allowing operators to inspect individual blade surfaces in extreme detail, identifying subtle cracks and imperfections.
Since then, the Thor X4 has demonstrated that UAV inspection for wind turbine inspections can be safer, cheaper and faster than sending climbers up to inspect blades or removing the blade for inspection on the ground. The two companies continue to build on their combined expertise to offer an integrated solution designed to customer specifications.
“This solution will be attractive to businesses involved in building and maintaining large scale infrastructures, such as cell towers, bridges, and buildings,” said Stephen Burtt, CEO, ATI. “It is designed to save costs through a more efficient inspection process, enabling timely repairs.”
“Previously, drone inspection capabilities have been limited by not having enough precise pixel level detail, while still maintaining continuous high rate imagery collection and all in a highly robust and reliable hardware,” said Dana Brown, North American Sales Manager, Phase One Industrial. “We are in the midst of an industry paradigm shift, one that will provide more accurate assessments of a range of structures, reducing the cost in man-hours of dangerous hands-on inspection.”
Built out of carbon fiber and aircraft grade aluminum, Thor X4 offers a very high power to weight ratio, so that it can fly safely in high wind – those areas in which wind farms are located. Its coaxial motor setup provides high redundancy and power on a frame size optimized for both travel and for flights in heavy winds. It is integrated with the Phase One iXU 150 camera system, whose aerial imagery provides the accurate millimeter per pixel detail needed for wind turbine inspection.