AVIATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

ST Engineering authorised to use drones in aircraft inspection

DroScan was granted the first authorization for unmanned aerial systems.

ST Engineering received authorisation from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) to use its in-house developed drone solution, DroScan, to carry out general Visual Inspection (GVI) during aircraft maintenance, according to an announcement.

This is the first-ever authorisation granted by CAAS for the use of unmanned aerial systems to perform GVI on Singapore-registered aircraft and will be used in ST Engineering’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities in Singapore.

With this authorisation, ST Engineering can apply its DroScan solution on approved aircraft models such as the Airbus A320 family.

DroScan uses automation and smart analytics capabilities to bring higher efficiency and greater workplace safety during aircraft maintenance work. By using drones to physically carry out visual inspections, DroScan eliminates the need to set up bulky ground equipment, such as boom-lifts and work stands for inspectors to climb up and down during manual inspections.

Inspectors can also instead conduct indirect GVI using live video feed and post-flight images captured by the drones. Captured images can be fed through algorithms that detect and classify defects to assist the inspectors in the review process.

In addition to smart analytics capability, DroScan is incorporated with safety features, including precise localisation system to navigate in GPS-denied environment, power tethered system for extended flight duration and controlled safety template, multiple sensors for obstacles detection, as well as geo-fencing to prevent the drone from straying out of flight template.

Moving forward, ST Engineering aims to extend the application of DroScan to more aircraft models, including widebody platforms, as well as develop new robotic solutions for inspections that involve contact-based measurements.

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