Drones’ Role in Improving Safety

Confined spaces and deadly fumes create a toxic work environment. Workers around the globe climb into such places every day — and a few of them don’t make it back out.

In April 2016, the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration fined a New Orleans tank-cleaning company for failing to follow safety rules in an incident where one worker died and two others were hospitalized after they passed out from lack of oxygen inside an oil tanker.

A Michigan company believes it can keep some of those workers from danger by replacing them with specialized drones. Interactive Aerial has spent the last year researching, testing and upgrading a drone specifically designed to operate inside enclosed spaces.

The company works with 15 part-time contract workers for various design, marketing and manufacturing chores. One part-timer at Michigan Technological University builds custom circuit boards that do service inside the fuselage of the company’s Legacy One drone.

In the construction industry, according to a report in EconoTimes, many companies are utilizing drones to replace traditional land surveying methods. The technological devices can potentially reduce the time and labor required to provide an accurate land survey, as they can successfully capture information at a rapid rate and can, therefore, eliminate human error.

If that wasn’t enough, they can improve health and safety on site, as it is easy to identify and remove any potential hazards or dangers that could pose a risk to construction workers. Also, drones can heighten a site’s security, as they can monitor for theft or vandalism while providing security protection for all employees.

Large tech corporations have already realized the many benefits drones can bring to construction, which is why companies such as Intel intend to develop industrial drones to aid the sector.

Australian researchers plan to use drones to explore parts of old mines that are unsafe to visit, using a detailed 3D map of the caverns in minutes. The researchers’ model is based on a commercial quadcopter. It has powerful LED lights, cameras and sonar. Initially, they tried flying it using the drone’s onboard camera to guide them – an approach known as first-person-view (FPV) piloting.