Drones can be used to make ship surveys faster, more accurate and safer by removing the need for deploying a workboat
Naval architecture and marine engineering company Foreship has started using drones to take visual readings from ship hulls for ship draught surveys.
“The traditional way of taking draught readings is time-consuming, and there are always some risks when launching a manned boat from a vessel, such that it is best avoided when not absolutely necessary,” said Foreship chief naval architect Markus Aarnio.
“Then there is the question of accuracy: it can be difficult for a surveyor to take precise measurements in waves, while the ship operator’s interest is for the process to be completed in as short a time as possible,” he explained.
This led to Foreship developing an alternative method for performing these surveys. Surveyors can remotely control unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to take swift draught measurements using video streams.
“Drones are fast, highly manoeuvrable and can be controlled from a remote location,” said Mr Aarnio.
“This eliminates the need for a survey boat, saving time and improving safety. The technology also allows greater accuracy, because even in choppy waters, the video footage captured by the drone allows us to determine the draught reading correctly,” he said.
This is another application for drones in remote surveys, complementing what has already been developed and tested by classification societies.
“Our application of drones in performing draught surveys represents a new and highly focused way of applying digital technology to provide better accuracy in surveys,” said Mr Aarnio.
“The procedure can be carried out at any port or shipyard where permission to operate drones can be obtained, and our positive early discussions with classification societies suggest that receiving class approval will not be an issue.”
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