The UK’s biggest airline, Easyjet, has just announced that they are going to be working with the Bristol Robotics Lab to help modify drones to run more efficient maintenance reports and aircraft scans for its fleet of 220 Airbus aircraft.
The drones will be programmed to scan and assess the aircraft, reporting to engineers on damage which may require further inspection or maintenance work. The drones are currently in development and the plan is to trial them in the coming months so that they can be introduced into operation early in 2015.
Dr Arthur Richards, Head of Aerial Robotics at Bristol Robotics Laboratory, commented, “Aircraft inspection is a great application for drones. Coupled with smart navigation and computer vision, they can get accurate data from really awkward places. We look forward to working with easyJet to develop safe, effective and efficient drone systems for this challenge.â€
Ian Davies, Head of Engineering for easyJet, commented, “Drone technology could be used extremely effectively to help us perform aircraft checks. Checks that would usually take more than a day could be performed in a couple of hours and potentially with greater accuracy.â€