The Dutch company Mainblades provides drones for automated aerial inspection of commercial airliners. Using Ouster lidar, they are able to accurately investigate the aircraft's exterior.
Mainblades uses a DJI Matrice series drone paired with a high-end camera and Ouster lidar sensor. For navigation purposes, they built their own flight controller, which serves as an autopilot but also processes the mapping data.
The purpose of lidar
The Ouster OS0-32 sensor is attached to the drone and used for two main objectives. First, it collects precise data on the inspected area, including accurate dimensions. Second, it acts as a navigation sensor, which helps the drone avoid obstacles and detect movements.
“The output from Ouster's sensors is outstanding. Integrating their technology into our drone setup means being able to achieve the highest degree of precision for mapping and navigation.“ - Dejan Borota, CEO at Mainblades.
Benefits of using a drone for inspection
Visual aircraft inspections are crucial in the airline industry to meet high safety standards. According to Mainblades, a general visual inspection typically takes around 8 hours for a single engineer and around 4-6 hours for two engineers. Using Mainblade's UAV, the whole process can now be completed in an hour. The drone performs the flight fully autonomously and labels critical areas by using AI machine learning. After the flight, high-resolution data is automatically uploaded to the cloud and can be checked by an engineer.
For airlines, reduced inspection times play a major role in driving down costs and increasing efficiency. The Dutch airline KLM has an ongoing partnership with Mainblades and is now using drones to inspect their aircraft efficiently.
For further information on the topic, consider reading the following material:
- Mainblades web page: here
- Why Mainblades is using Ouster sensors: click here
- Ouster website: click here
- Purchase an Ouster lidar here