Infrastructure Inspection Pathfinder

Project Completion: August 2019

This Pathfinder project aims at accelerating the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to enable UK businesses to access wider inspection and surveying capabilities of this smart technology. Unlocking beyond line of sight (BVLOS) capabilities means reducing delivery and operational costs for linear infrastructure and gathering data to provide actionable infrastructure information. This will:

  1. Optimise project and surveying costs by reducing labour costs significantly, while providing better accuracy.
  2. Improve safety on site by reducing injuries and fatalities in the infrastructure sector through the use of advanced aerial robotics to limit persons involved in hazardous work
  3. Enable better decisions and improve quality: by providing an accurate 3D model of the entire project through a BVLOS flight, Unmanned Aerial Systems can provide real-time information, which allows construction industries to make faster and better decisions

Ultimately, the technical and commercial integration of BVLOS will be tested in a complex airspace on a live infrastructure project, the M4 in Newport.

The aim of the project is to validate the business case for safe Beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flight capabilities (up to 12km) in a controlled and uncontrolled environment whilst capturing data to successfully create a digital replicate of the project site.

Key challenges the project will address:

  • Establish and maintain safety (collision avoidance) and situational/operational awareness
  • Understand technical requirements
  • Obtain approval from the CAA
  • Integrating the technology in complex congested areas

Project Partners:

Costain is the project lead and the end-user. It deploys technology-based innovative engineering solutions to meet urgent national needs across the UK’s energy, water and transportation infrastructures, through the delivery of integrated consultancy, asset optimisation, technology and complex delivery services.

Sensat is the technical supplier, its capability stands in drone-based modelling: they digitise large linear infrastructure by capturing data and turn it into a 3D model.

The Transport Systems Catapult is the Project Manager, supports development of the Operational Safety Case and trials, whilst providing technical and regulatory support.







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