Picture this: You run a solar farm. And it’s time for a routine inspection to detect faulty or damaged solar cells.
Traditionally, you’ve inspected using a handheld thermal sensor – hoping to identify any anomalies on your solar panels. It does the job, but it’s time-consuming. You’re aware that drones are capable of carrying out this task much more rapidly, but that’s not a simple solution either. The time and expense of training an in-house pilot to meet the regulatory bar, along with the cost of a drone with a thermal sensor, add up.
What options do you have? Well, you could hire someone from outside on a contract basis. That gets pricey as well, since the fee generally includes travel time and other expenses for the operator. Like most solar farms, your facility is located in a rural area far from the nearest major city.
InDro Robotics is pleased to offer a solution: We ship you a fully-charged drone with thermal sensor, and we fly the mission remotely.
And how does that work? Well, just like this:
Inspections without the hassle
Let’s back up a bit.
InDro created this solution in response to a need. Solar and other industries told us they understood the value proposition of drone inspections but couldn’t justify the cost of purchasing a drone with the appropriate sensor for their needs. Many also said they didn’t need a drone pilot on staff.
And so we started thinking of options that would work within the current regulatory framework. In Canada, as long as the pilot is in contact with a visual observer monitoring the flight, these missions can be carried out without additional permissions beyond notifying NAVCAN of the flight.
“It’s a straightforward solution for solar farms or other clients requiring any form of aerial inspection,” explains Peter King, InDro’s Head of Robotic Solutions. “A qualified pilot instructs the client how to turn on the drone and monitor airspace. A pilot from InDro Robotics takes care of the rest, capturing and delivering meaningful data to the client – and at a significantly lower price point than having a contractor travel to the client’s location.”
And when the drone lands? The client simply powers it off, puts it back in the box, and ships it to the nearest InDro Robotics location (there are five in Canada).
Wait – there’s more!
Secure, remotely operated flights
If you follow our news, you’ll be aware we have created our own, proprietary platform for low-latency operations with high data bandwidth. We call the system InDro Pilot, and you can take a deeper dive here.
This system, which includes a special hardware module we’ve developed, is capable of exceedingly low-latency over 5G connections. It can also be operated over 4G as well. So regardless of where you need an inspection, we can carry it out as long as there’s a cellular connection. If that connection is 5G, we have the capability to upload your data in real-time to the cloud for processing – meaning you’ll receive meaningful and actionable data as soon as possible following the flight.
What’s more, the InDro Pilot system also informs traditional aircraft in the vicinity that a drone operation is underway at your location. This “Hear and be Heard” function, using a Software Defined Radio, reduces the likelihood of any conflict with low-flying aircraft.
If you check out the photo below, the black module on our WayFinder contains an Edge processor, high-speed modem, the Software Defined Radio – and much more. This is an integral ingredient in the secret sauce of InDro Pilot.
Not surprisingly, we’re keen on this solution.
But that’s not just because we created it. We truly believe this fills a niche in the marketplace, offering value to those who require top quality data collection and analysis but infrequent flights. For companies requiring up to four annual inspections, missions carried out remotely by InDro Robotics specialists are a cost-effective solution. We simply ship you the drone, ready to fly out of the box. All you have to do is watch the sky and keep in touch with our pilot during the flight – and the data will be your way in no time. And, by the way, InDro Robotics was the first company in North America to carry out a remote inspection in this way.
We are currently offering this solution in Canada. US operations are slightly more complex due to the FAA’s differing regulations, but not impossible.
To learn more of receive a quote for remote data acquisition, contact us here.