GE may jump into the drone inspection market as it has already begun trial testing autonomous robotic "crawlers," for use in refineries, factories, and railroads according to Reuters. GE hopes to take a chunk of the $40 Billion global inspection industry.
The project will be spearheaded by the startup Avitas Systems, a GE venture, which has already tested the use of UAVs for remote photography, taking temperature, detecting gas leaks, and measuring vibrations in dangerous industrial environments.
Recent advancements in the fields of computer vision, machine learning, and data analytics have sparked the interests of big names like GE, IBM, and Lockheed Martin to invest in drones. The potential for safe and more efficient inspection operations appears to be a clear motivator, particularly in oil and gas where maritime drone inspections have been utilized for years already.
GE's effort will target the oil and gas, transportation, and power sectors and is expected to announce the project formally today.
Interested in drone inspections? Check out the Skylogic Research report: 5 Valuable Lessons Learned About Drones in Asset and Infrastructure Inspection