Airbus looks to drones to improve aircraft inspection process

In an effort to streamline the process of inspecting its aircraft, French aircraft manufacturer Airbus has started testing the use of drones to accomplish the task. Airbus announced the news during the Farnborough Airshow in England

While drones and aircraft usually make for a dangerous combination, Airbus recently shared a video showing how drones could be of great use to the company in the future. The company announced the

Traditionally, aircraft inspections are done by human means. Inspectors walk around the aircraft and utilize small lifts to look inside the intricate nooks and crannies not viewable from the ground. This process usually takes around two hours to complete from beginning to end.

By utilizing its custom-made drones, Airbus is able to cut that time down to 10 minutes. Not only does it save time, it could also help prevent on-the-job injuries that could occur to ground workers.

The drones Airbus uses for the inspections are AscTec Falcon 8 drones built by Ascending Technologies. They are autonomous throughout the inspection process thanks to Intel’s RealSense 3D technologies, but trained pilots keep an eye on them to ensure nothing goes wrong.

To capture the photographs for the inspection process, the drones carry a Sony a7R camera with a Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA lens attached. The high-resolution capabilities of the camera help inspectors get a detailed look at any mechanical or cosmetic defects by capturing roughly 150 images. These images are then reconstructed into a 3D model for inspectors to look over.

Currently, Airbus is testing this process on its A350 family of aircraft. Nathalie Ducombeau, the company’s head of quality, expects the company will complete its testing before the end of 2016. If all goes as planned with the first phase of testing, the drone inspections will be tested on other aircraft in Airbus’ fleet.

Emerging Tech

Intel wants its fleet of drones to monitor America’s aging, unsafe bridges

Intel has signed a deal to use its Falcon 8+ drones to carry out bridge inspections. The hope is that these drones will be useful in spotting potential problems before they become serious.
Emerging Tech

Full-fledged drone delivery service set to land in remote Canadian community

Some drone delivery operations seem rather crude in their execution, but Drone Delivery Canada is building a comprehensive platform that's aiming to take drone delivery to the next level.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Computing

Calibrate your display to get it looking just the way you like it

Want to see images the way they're intended to be seen? Here is our quick guide on how to calibrate your monitor using your operating system or another tool, to make what's on the screen look as good as it can.
Emerging Tech

White dwarf star unexpectedly emitting bright ‘supersoft’ X-rays

NASA's Chandra Observatory has discovered a white dwarf star which is emitting supersoft X-rays, calling into question the conventional wisdom about how X-rays are produced by dying stars.
Business

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Giveaways

Print your heart’s desire: Enter our giveaway to win a free Monoprice 3D printer

We’re giving away a $400 Monoprice MP Voxel 3D Printer. It's easy to use, especially for beginners, with its simple menu system and touchscreen display. It comes fully assembled so you can spend more time printing instead of setting up.
Emerging Tech

It’s no flying car, but the e-scooter had a huge impact on city streets in 2018

Within just a year, electric scooters have fundamentally changed how we navigate cities. From San Francisco to Paris, commuters have a new option that’s more fun than mass transit, easier than a bike, and definitely not a car.
Emerging Tech

Transplanted pig hearts show promise in baboon trials. Are humans next?

Researchers in Germany have successfully transplanted modified pig hearts into baboons. The results take us one step closer to ending organ transplant waiting lists for good. Here's why.
Emerging Tech

An A.I. cracks the internet’s squiggly letter bot test in 0.5 seconds

How do you prove that you’re a human when communicating on the internet? The answer used to be by solving a CAPTCHA puzzle. But maybe not for too much longer. Here is the reason why.
Emerging Tech

Makerbot is back with a new 3D printer that’s faster and more precise than ever

MakerBot's new Method 3D printer aims to bridge the gap between home 3D printers and more industrial 3D printing tech. Here are a few of the tantalizing things you can expect from it.
Emerging Tech

Warm ski beanie instantly hardens into a head-protecting helmet upon impact

Wool hats are way more comfortable than hard helmets. You know what they're not? Safer. That could soon change, thanks to an innovative new ski beanie which instantly hardens upon impact.
Deals

Take to the skies with these 5 drones on sale for under $50

On the hunt for some cool tech for under $50? We've rounded up 5 drones under $50 that you can still get before Christmas. These models are great for kids, adults, and anyone just getting started with drones.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.