Aircraft Inspection Drones: Technology Paves the Way to Future

Drone, the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is taking shape of a mainstream trend in the surveillance landscape for visual assessment owing to its small size and the functionality of being remotely controlled. Technological advancements have a huge impact on the commercial applicability of drones. The application area has substantially diversified and the aviation industry is the new hub of these flying investigators. OEM and service facilities in the aviation industry are increasingly employing drones for inspection of aircraft operating for commercial purposes as well as for defense. The implication has turned out to be very positive in terms of time efficiency. Aircraft inspection drones complete their task in a very short duration of time as compared to the traditional inspection technologies which took more than six hours for completing one round of visual inspection of an aircraft. 

Enhanced Precision and time-efficiency Surge Demand for Drones

Besides improving the accuracy in inspection, the technology used in aircraft inspection drones has simplified the documentation associated with these inspection activities. Aircraft inspection drones take surveillance one step ahead with greater accuracy a deficiency in fault finding along with sending these faults in real-time as notifications to the maintenance teams. 

The aviation sector has largely benefitted by using aircraft inspection drones in different aspects such as overall safety and cost-efficiency in maintenance. Drones have proven to reduce the inspection time by 80% to 90%. Drones are highly recommended for inspection owing to their capability to mitigate the chances of any error. This error-free inspection is of high significance in aircraft as any error can fail in the aircraft, which sometimes can turn out to be fatal. Fast-paced error-free inspection is what lays down grounds for the growth of aircraft inspection drones in the aviation industry. 

Technological Advancements Lay Grounds for Innovations

Advanced technologies such as machine learning and laser are widening the scope of application of these aircraft inspection drones where they are getting equipped with the required technologies to perform certain tasks during the inspection. This new capability is generating growth prospects for the manufactures in the market.

Aircraft inspection drones are equipped with aids such as mirrors, endoscopes, lenses and optic fiber devices to provide an enhanced level of safety and serviceability during aircraft inspection. The low-cost, high-definition camera is installed in these drones to efficiently detect any damage in any panel of the aircraft. Then, there are distance and trajectory sensors that are used in avoiding obstacles and in facilitating the planning of the inspection path. Sometimes, the technical combination includes several ultrasonic sensors, with HD cameras and microcontrollers. A full-fledged system concept design is executed to manage aircraft inspection procedures. 

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The drone and augmented reality services have been launched in aircraft inspection drones landscape, where the technology provides an end-to-end digital solution with guaranteed quality and adherence to related regulations. This technology is developed by Airbus to provide maintenance, repair and overhaul services for military aircraft. 

Stringent Regulations Hamper the Market Growth

These drones have proven efficacy in detecting damages caused by external factors such as a lightning strike. Though the benefits are very apparent, stringent regulations concerning the manufacture and operation of these inspection drones pose a major challenge to the rapid growth of their market. For instance, EU-wide safety standards created by the European Union mandates different technicalities such as collision avoidance systems and automated landing systems in drones. Further, the regulation directs the manufacturers to fulfill other requirements including drone operator training and national drone registry. Such mandatory conditions are hindering the rapid growth of aircraft inspection drones market.

Market Segmentation

Aircraft inspection drones can be broadly classified into two types; automated drones and manually operated drones. Two types of drones; Single Rotor Aircraft Inspection Drones and Multi-Rotor Aircraft Inspection Drones which are primarily gaining prominence in aircraft inspection landscape. Also based on end-use, segregation is into two major types; commercial aircraft and defense aircraft. 

Attributing to the burgeoning demand for new technologies in the aviation sector and growth in several maintenances, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services, North America has attained a prominent position in the aircraft inspection drones market.

Scaling economies of the Asia Pacific such as India, China, and Japan are continuously expanding their aircraft sector. Along with the surge in the number of airports, escalation in demand for efficient MRO services has a positive influence on the aircraft inspection drone market in the Asia Pacific, imparting its prominent position in the market. 

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Augmenting demand for efficient maintenance services in different areas of operation; commercial and defense are driving the growth of aircraft inspection drones market in Europe. The other regions which are progressing at fast-pace aircraft inspection drones landscape are Latin America and Middle East & Africa.

Market players are embracing technology to stay at the forefront in the aircraft inspection drones market. Key players in the market are MRO Drone Ltd., Airbus S.A.S., Blue Bear Systems Research Ltd., Aircraft Inspection Drone, Airwing, Parrot, Donecle, DJI, Luftronix, Inc., MIR Innovation and MicroMultiCopter Aero Technology. 

The latest report by Persistence Market Research (PMR) gives a detailed analysis of market segments, market dynamics, market size and challenges in the market. It provides quantitative and qualitative analysis of inputs provided by industry experts and leading market participants. The report contains an analysis of market trends, macro-economic indicators, and governing factors. 

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