ST Engineering drone maintenance authorisation anticipates wider aerodrome use

Approval by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) for ST Engineering to operate its DroScan drone solution to carry out General Visual Inspection (GVI) during aircraft maintenance could allow for future operations within Singapore’s civil aerodromes.

In addition to smart analytics capability, DroScan incorporates relevant safety features. These include a precise localisation system to navigate in GPS-denied environments, power tethered system for extended flight duration and controlled safety template, multiple sensors for obstacles detection and geo-fencing to prevent the drone from straying out of flight template.

“CAAS is excited by ST Engineering’s efforts to use unmanned aerial systems to perform visual inspections on Singapore-registered aircraft. We commend ST Engineering on this initiative to leverage digital technology to enhance productivity and effectiveness in its operations. Such innovations are in line with our vision to digitally transform the aviation industry. Especially, in this current COVID-19 environment, we hope to see an impetus for more of such novel solutions from our Singapore aviation companies”, said Kevin Shum, Director-General of CAAS.

AS a result of the certification, ST Engineering is applying its DroScan solution at aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities on approved aircraft models such as the Airbus A320 family. Moving forward, ST Engineering aims to extend the application of DroScan to more aircraft models, including widebody platforms, as well as develop new robotic solutions for inspections that involve contact-based measurements.

DroScan leverages automation and smart analytics capabilities to bring about higher efficiency and greater workplace safety during aircraft maintenance work. The Group had over the past one year demonstrated the solution’s capabilities and benefits through a number of successful trials with participating airline customers including Air New Zealand. By using drones to physically carry out visual inspections, DroScan eliminates the need to set up bulky ground equipment such as boom-lifts and work stands for inspectors to climb up and down during manual inspections. Inspectors can instead conduct indirect GVI using live video feed and post-flight images captured by the drones. Captured images can be fed through algorithms that detect and classify defects to assist the inspectors in the review process.

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