Dronecloud to Develop Drone Management Software for Railway Inspection

By Mike Ball / 01 Feb 2021
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Dronecloud partnership with Network Rail

Dronecloud has entered into an agreement to provide management software for the fleet of drones operated by Network Rail, the organization responsible for managing much of the railway network in Great Britain. The agreement covers development and license of the software over the next five years.

The software will be used by Network Rail to manage multiple projects involving drone-based monitoring and surveying of rail infrastructure. It will provide the ability to manage both in-house and contracted drone pilot activities, and support the safe, compliant and efficient running of concurrent projects and creation of an audit trail of completed work.

Enterprises across a wide variety of industries are now deploying drone fleets to perform surveying and monitoring of sites that would be expensive, complex, or unsafe to monitor with human personnel. Drone deployments, particularly at scale, have their own complexities, and current and future proposed legislation provides rules and guidelines on the proper planning, operation and reporting of drone use. The logistics of managing hundreds of drone projects can also quickly become difficult, with tasks including ensuring the drones are fit to fly, that the operator is suitably qualified and that the task is properly specified.

Dronecloud’s drone management software technology has been designed for safe and scalable streamlining of the administration of drone operations. It is ideal for providing audit trails for both individual drone pilots and enterprise clients, significantly cutting operating costs by combining business and technical tools. Dronecloud ultimately aims to support users in the safe operation of BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) drone flights.

Jan Domaradzki, CEO of Dronecloud, commented: “Network Rail is the perfect partner for us. We have a shared vision of the efficiencies that well-managed drone operations can give to infrastructure projects. Network Rail has demonstrated that it is forward-thinking, and that its team understands the challenges and complexities of enterprise scale drone operations, so we are well-aligned on where we can support them now, and in the future.”

“In many industries drone operations have evolved organically, with more and more tasks being completed by drones as the benefits are better understood. As operations become more complex, we’re experiencing a high level of enquiries from companies that are keen to ensure that they are both compliant, efficient and, above all, safe in how they operate. With dozens, if not hundreds of drone projects running, the traditional mosaic of multiple datapoints, spreadsheets, emails, is just not a sustainable way of managing operations. It’s a busy and exciting time to be rolling out our software to more clients.”

Rikke Carmichael, head of Air Operations at Network Rail, said: “With the number of drone flights at the level it is, and only going to climb higher in the future, we needed a flight management system to manage the load to ensure we are as efficient and safe as possible. It will show drone pilots if another drone is operating nearby, as well as alert the pilot to other potential ground or air hazards in the area of the flight.”

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Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact