Airbus has demonstrated how a drone can conduct a visual aircraft inspection.
At the Farnborough Air Show, a drone with a high-definition camera inspected the upper part of an aircraft on the ground, according to an Airbus announcement. Inspections take 10 to 15 minutes versus two hours for a human inspector, according to Airbus.
The drone was flown "using an automatic flight control system supervised by a human pilot," Airbus said. "The UAV follows a predetermined flight path and takes a series of pictures automatically. All these images and especially those showing any potential non-quality such as scratches, dents and painting defects, are compiled in a 3-D digital model, recorded in a database and then analyzed. This data helps improve traceability, prevention and reduction of damage."
Airbus is now conducting full-scale industrial testing on A330 aircraft.