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Improving Cell Tower Inspections With Thermal and Lidar Sensors


In the past decade, there has been a few advancements in what the drone can actually ‘see’ and ways to translate that information into useable data and images. This is accomplished by the use of thermal and LiDAR sensing technology. These are the types of sensors that will allow the drone to take your cell tower inspections into the 21st century. Let’s first look at thermal sensors

Thermal Sensing Technology and Your Cell Tower Inspection

A thermal sensor, when mounted on a cell tower inspection drone, will give a relative measurement between the surface temperature of land as opposed to other man-made objects. These temperature swings are invisible to the human eye. This creates an aerial thermal image for the purpose of analyzing and reports.

When your specific drone is outfitted with thermal sensing capability you in essence have a very powerful tool that will report any unusual or unwanted heat sources.

There are certain pieces of the cell tower that is expected to produce a certain amount of heat. These sensors can determine if this equipment is within tolerances regarding heat production and shows the maintenance team where potential problems may lie.

These thermal images can also make the drone pilot aware of any potential safety hazard to the aircraft and show where the temperature is at a level where the drone can fly without damage.

This is just another added benefit of implementing drone services into your cell tower inspection regimen.

LiDAR Sensing Technology and Your Cell Tower Inspection

LiDAR is simply an acronym for ‘Light Detection and Ranging.’ Dedicated LiDAR sensors employ the use of laser emitted light energy that constantly scans the ground and effectively measures the range of the light that returns, or ‘bounces’ back to the sensor.

This in-turn produces a rather rich data set that can be used in the production of high resolution of maps, as well as detailed 3D models of just about any naturally occurring or man-made object.

Drone LiDAR collection sets yield the highest quality data, when compared to other more traditional drone data collection methods. This technology can be used in many applications including construction, energy, and insurance, all industries that could possibly have a finger in the cell tower inspection process.

The ‘point cloud’ that a LiDAR sensor can produce is a far more robust set of data. This point cloud can effectively measure between 100 and 500 points per square meter of space measured at a vertical elevation accuracy of 2 to 3 centimeters. That is a lot of data from such a small area surveyed!

Well, now you are either thoroughly confused or highly educated about cell tower inspections by drones. Hopefully it is the latter.

Should you have any further questions regarding the use of drones in cell tower inspections, or the types of imaging and data collected during these inspections by drones, just give the team at Mile High Drones the opportunity to serve you in all your cell tower inspection needs!

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