Sponsored Content. Leading drone data management company Optelos has helped many drone service providers and enterprise companies get the most out of their drone asset inspections. In a new whitepaper, Optelos puts together the lessons learned from their enterprise clients. Be sure to see the entire whitepaper, Optimizing Asset Inspections: Going Beyond Drone Images to Achieve Real Results, for a deeper dive.
Drone asset inspections are growing in importance: but many stakeholders still need to be convinced of the return on investment over conventional asset inspection methods. Optimizing asset inspections requires going beyond delivering drone images to providing digital data that can be leveraged throughout an organization for greater insights and cost savings. We’ve put together eight lessons learned from the field to help you offer your customers and stakeholders the best and most valuable inspection product.
- Think Ahead: Start with Good Data Management
Data management is too often something implemented after implementing a drone asset inspection program. Start with a robust data management platform that will support collaboration, accommodate multiple data sources, and integrate with analysis tools to ensure that all stakeholders get maximum value from the program.
- Identify Objectives
Start with a clear understanding of what your stakeholders hope to achieve with a drone asset inspection program. Put the measurement mechanisms in place to ensure a system of continuous improvement. Drone asset inspections can offer benefits beyond worker safety: benefits that include better maintenance programs, contributions to future development plans, and real and measurable cost savings.
- Collecting the Data: Sensors and Methods
How data is collected is as important as what data is collected. What flight plan is appropriate for the asset? Using the optimal flight path and technique based on asset type, whether a vertical asset like a flare stack or a horizontal asset like a pipeline, yields optimal results.
Sensor choice is also critical. Images must be collected with a high enough resolution camera at a high enough density to enable detailed inspections, whether AI powered or by visual inspection.
- The Best Data for the Job
Professional asset inspections involve far more than simple images. Depending upon the asset, thermal images, video, orthomosaic maps, or 3D models may provide the most useful data. Decide on the right data type at the outset: so that you can apply the data analysis appropriate for the job.
- Data Analysis
Once you’ve determined the best form for your digital data, think about the correct data analysis methods for your objectives. How will stakeholders identify changes over time? Can areas of interest or faults be measured accurately? 3D models or digital twins, for example, allow for accurate measurements: 2D othomosaic maps provide detailed mapping of larger geographic areas, and support detection of elevation changes and vegetation encroachment.
- Providing the Details: Geolocating Detailed Imagery and Other Data Sources Directly to a Digital Twin
To make the best decisions, customers need be sure that they have the most current and accurate data associated with an asset. Ultimately, the best results are obtained when multiple data sources – repair history, engineering drawings, service reports, and more – can be correlated and geolocated to a specific asset.
- Automating the Process with AI
AI and machine learning are more than just industry buzzwords. When a high volume of images needs to be processed, AI can automate the process of detecting a defect, and currently available tools make AI accessible for every size enterprise.
- Integrating into the Workflow
An inspection is just one step in the maintenance process. To optimize the benefit of drone asset inspections, integrate dispatch or trouble ticketing into the overall workflow – allowing field personnel to respond quickly to issues identified from the analysis.
Drone images are only the first part of drone asset inspections. The right system and tools can revolutionize asset inspections, creating a digital model that can be leveraged throughout an organization to improve worker safety, develop better maintenance programs and lower costs. For much deeper information on best practices, sensor choices, data analysis types and more, read the full whitepaper here – and contact us today for a free demonstration of the Optelos system and see how you can optimize drone asset inspections for your stakeholders.