Asset inspection industry leader Geomatic Technologies has successfully undertaken its first Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) UAV trial flight during the past month after an extensive period of close consultation with CASA to obtain the necessary permissions to undertake BVLOS flights over infrastructure easements in semi-urban areas.
Flying a UAV BVLOS is currently only permitted in Australia with special approval from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). Approvals are granted on a case-by-case application and risk assessment. To date only a handful of BVLOS flights have been undertaken in Australia, typically in remote areas away from people and infrastructure.
Geomatic Technologies’ John Perkins, Chief UAV Controller, said “This is a milestone in our industry and we are extremely proud to be the leaders in this emerging technology. Not only will our investment in BVLOS technology significantly expand our offerings in linear asset and easement inspections, it will also provide considerable operational savings and growth opportunities for our organisation.”
With an approved window of flight time and the Delair-Tech DT-18 fixed wing aircraft fitted with a RGB camera as their craft, the dedicated UAV team conducted four successful flights, covering approximately 80kms, during which they captured down-facing imagery to support easement inspection.
“This is the first step in developing a deeper understanding of exactly what is possible with this technology, and what configuration is required to perform different types of inspections,” said John.
“The trials so far have taught us valuable lessons about:
- communication range and challenges;
- maximum bank angles and impact of lost imagery whilst banking;
- impact of wind and turbulence on imagery coverage;
- optimal flying height; and
- speed and sustainability of the processed datasets for automated change detection and feature extraction.”
“These lessons will assist further trials that will utilise larger aircraft, carry payloads similar to our manned aircraft operations and fit seamlessly into our established data processing, modelling and visualisation workflows” said Gary Butcher, Innovation and Solutions Manager for Geomatic Technologies.
“We believe this technology will significantly improve the efficiency of our existing aerial services. Over time, it will also enable us to undertake more frequent data capture to support automated change detection and analytics, along with the ability to rapidly deploy aerial sensors across hard to access areas in the event of an emergency” added Gary.
Geomatic Technologies will continue working with CASA to gain approvals to utilise BVLOS UAV operations in situations where there is a clear benefit in utilising this technology. This includes undertaking existing electricity network inspection services to AusNet Services and offering a range of easement and linear infrastructure inspection services to utilities such as vegetation encroachment modelling and asset condition assessment.
For more information, please contact Paul Layzell, Manager Aerial Services, by emailing email@example.com.
03 9695 6347
About Geomatic Technologies
Geomatic Technologies has a long history providing services to infrastructure owners and operators across electricity, water and gas industries throughout all stages of data analysis, including technology solutions that capture, manage, and analyse asset condition and performance data. With a continuous program of work supported by 24 dedicated qualified operators, a fleet of 28 varied UAV craft types and a state of the art mobility and works management system, Geomatic Technologies offers a range of services and turnkey solutions for distribution pole top inspection, transmission tower inspection, thermal imaging, above ground infrastructure and facilities inspection and telecommunication tower inspection.
For more information visit www.geomatic.com.au.