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Drones in Field Service: From Inspections to Deliveries

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Being innovative is the key to staying ahead of the competition. Drones are one innovation that is transforming various industries, including field service. Unmanned Aerial vehicles (UAVs), have already become a power gadget for field service business. 

“Drones overall will be more impactful than I think people recognize, in positive ways to help society.”   –  Bill Gates 

You might be wondering, “How can an aerial vehicle help with servicing in the field?” Well, Drones aren’t just flying saucers; UVAs are innovations that unlock new possibilities for businesses, allowing them to look at new opportunities while reducing risk. In this article, we’ll discuss how drones can help improve field service operations. Let’s get started. 

Speedy site inspections:

Whether you are a solar panel installer, roofing company, or landscape service provider, site inspection is part of your workflow. When you send your team to inspect a site and analyze the feasibility of work, you are committing to the first—and arguably more important—part of the process. Here is where UVAs take center stage—drones speed up this process by assisting your team in better surveying the site and providing an aerial overview. Faster, cheaper surveying speeds up the entire process, allowing your teams to complete jobs quickly and move on to their next assignment in record time. 

Better accurate diagnosis:

Drones are more than just an airborne camera; they are advanced imaging technologies. They help field service businesses accurately diagnose with precision and a high level of detail. Drones can capture intricate data from different perspectives, providing your team with the information they need. 

Tool delivery 

Businesses have already started using drones to deliver packages—eliminating the need for human commuting. Drones could even support field technicians with the fast delivery of spare parts and other tasks. Drones boost productivity and increase efficiency by eliminating the need for a technician to interrupt their work retrieving parts or equipment. By swiftly delivering essential tools and equipment, drones minimize downtime and allow technicians to resolve issues promptly, restoring operations and minimizing disruptions for customers.

Improved Safety

Any height of 2 meters or above is considered to be hazardous in working conditions. Many fatalities in workplaces have been recorded as a result of people falling from heights while on the job. Drones play a pivotal role in mitigating these risks by eliminating the need for technicians to engage in such perilous activities. By providing aerial perspectives and data, drones safeguard technicians from hazardous conditions, ensuring a safer working environment.

Enhanced Efficiency

Drones offer a range of benefits that enhance efficiency and safety in the field service industry. By automating tasks such as site inspections and equipment delivery, drones reduce the time technicians spend on manual labor, allowing them to focus on more value-added activities. Additionally, drones eliminate the need for technicians to work in hazardous conditions, such as high-altitude work or confined spaces, minimizing the risk of accidents and injuries.

Drones in Field Service: Benefits and Limitations  

Use Cases in Field Service

Power Line Inspection:

Drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras have become a staple in power line inspection, providing a safer, more efficient, and cost-effective alternative to traditional methods. These drones can quickly scan vast stretches of power lines, identifying potential faults and damage such as overheating conductors, loose connections, or damaged insulation. The early detection of these issues helps prevent power outages, improve grid reliability, and reduce maintenance costs.

Rooftop Inspection:

Assessing roof conditions is crucial for maintaining building integrity and preventing potential leaks or damage. Drones offer a comprehensive solution for rooftop inspections, providing high-resolution images and videos that allow inspectors to identify areas of concern, such as missing or damaged shingles, cracks in flashing, or potential vegetation growth. This detailed documentation serves as valuable evidence for insurance claims and facilitates effective maintenance planning.

Wind Turbine Inspection:

Inspecting wind turbine blades is critical for ensuring wind farms’ safe and efficient operation. Manual blade inspections can be time-consuming, hazardous, and prone to human error. Drones equipped with high-resolution cameras can thoroughly inspect blades for cracks, erosion, or other damage, providing a detailed assessment that reduces the risk of blade failures and costly downtime.

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Infrastructure Inspection:

Drones are increasingly important in inspecting critical infrastructure, such as bridges, railways, pipelines, and communication towers. Their ability to cover large areas quickly and access difficult-to-reach locations makes them invaluable for identifying signs of wear, corrosion, or damage, preventing potential infrastructure failures, and ensuring public safety.

Conclusion

Drones have revolutionized the field service industry, offering a range of benefits that enhance efficiency, safety, and data collection capabilities. As drone technology continues to advance, we can expect to see even more innovative applications emerge, further expanding the role of drones in field service. The future of field service is one where drones seamlessly integrate into daily operations, providing businesses with the tools and insights they need to deliver exceptional service to their customers.

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