Gone are the days when drones were some fancy tools used by the military and large industries. With the ever-growing availability of drones, their functions are also increasing.
Sure, flying a drone itself is a thrilling experience. But what if flying a drone can also help you in your personal and professional work? One such aspect of drone flying is its usage in the inspection.
With the help of a drone, you can inspect places where you couldn’t have reached otherwise. Be it a tiny confined room, sewerage, or the roof of your house, your drone can let you see all of it, with minimum effort and absolutely no risk of hazards.
However, it is easy to get confused over which drone to use for what type of inspection. To help you choose between the thousands of options available in the market, this article has reviewed some of the best inspection drones that you can rely upon.
Benefits of Using Drones for Inspection
Using a drone for inspection simply means using the drone’s camera as your second pair of eyes. There are some obvious benefits of drone inspection, such as-
Safety: Thanks to drones, you don’t have to be physically present in an area to inspect it. Climbing a tower or going down a sewer can be very risky, but it often gets necessary to inspect them. Using drones for inspections eliminates the hazards, and keeps the inspector and the properties safe.
Convenience: When you have a drone, inspecting is as easy as just pressing some buttons on the remote. This means, no physical labor, no risks, and only clear views of the inspection area. You can even replay the footage caught on the drone camera for further reviewing.
Low Cost: Drone inspection costs way less than using manpower, or larger tools like helicopters. Once you buy a drone, it becomes a lifetime investment.
The industrialists have found that 80% of inspections do not find any problems in the property, and thus, these properties don’t require any fixing. So, for repairing agencies, it is much more cost-efficient to use a drone for inspection. Once any errors are found, they can send their employees to fix those. This way, they wouldn’t have to pay extra charges to their employees in vain.
Drone inspection is a much safer option, companies can reduce their insurance costs by utilizing it. Overall, drone inspections can save you about 70 to 85 percent of your investment.
Faster Results: Think of someone physically inspecting a roof. First, they have to use specialized tools and skills to reach the roof. Then, they will have to slowly move around while ensuring their safety. Finally, they’ll return with the results.
On the other hand, you can get instant footage from a drone camera. This reduces the operation time and allows you to share the results with your clients in only a few hours.
5 Best Inspection Drones
In this section, you will find the detailed reviews of the 5 best drones for inspection depending on what type of inspection they excel at.
1. Roof Inspection – DJI Mavic 2 Pro
DJI is the largest producer of consumer drones worldwide, and Mavic 2 Pro is one of their user favourite products. Even though it is as small as a toy, the drone is equally friendly to beginner and advanced drone pilots, due to its different flight modes and professional-quality camera.
DJI Mavic 2 Pro has an internal GPS and more intelligent features like barrier sensors, automatic take-off, etc. You couldn’t make it crash even if you wanted to!
We particularly recommend this drone for roof inspection because of its top-notch safety features, advanced stability, and portability. It takes steady and noise-free shots; weighs less than average drones and can be folded.
Roof inspection does require some close looks at different corners, and the crystal clear images produced by this drone’s camera can certainly help you with that.
- Body dimension- 214 × 91 × 84 millimetres
- Weight- 907 grams
- Flight time- 31 minutes
- Maximum speed- 44mph
- Battery life- 135 minutes
- Camera- Hasselblad L1D-20c camera with an 1-inch CMOS sensor
- Adjustable aperture of F/2.8-F/11
- Video resolution- 4K HD
- Internal storage- 8GB, additional storage up to 128GB
2. Construction Inspection – Phantom 4 RTK
Not only does the drone show you real-time images, the positional data caught on it is centimeter-level (1/10 feet). The TimeSync technology used in it combines the drone’s camera and receiver, as well as tagging spatial information to the images.
The Phantom drone series is a well-renowned name to most drone photographers and Phantom 4 RTK is one of the greatest additions in the series. Its lower price and higher accuracy have almost revolutionized the field of drone surveying.
The other features that make it the best drone for inspection are its image quality, flight modes, and innovative controller. The RTK uses a 20-megapixel CMOS sensor for sharper and clearer images of moving objects. It features a wide-angle lens of 24 mm focal length that is also ideal for aerial photography.
Another feature that makes this drone so unique is its flight modes. You can enable the drone by simply tapping a point on the controller’s screen. Then, either draw the drone’s pathway or select the option for the shortest path to the base station. You can also use preset paths by uploading a KML file.
When you’re inspecting a huge construction site, you might need to change the batteries of your drone. This is why Phantom RTK uses hot-swappable batteries. There’s no fear of losing control of your drone, even if you have to change batteries while your drone is up in the air!
- Weight- 1391 gram
- Maximum speed- 36 mph for automated flights and 31 mph for manual flights
- Sensor- 1 inch CMOS, 20 megapixel
- Lens- 24mm, aperture- f/2.8 – f/11
- Video resolution- 4K
- Flight time- 30 minutes
3. Agriculture Inspection – SenseFly eBee AG
SenseFly eBee AG may look like a cute little toy, but it is capable of giving tough competition to most drones in the market. This drone is especially helpful in agricultural monitoring since it can efficiently fly through and map vast lands.
The vibrantly-colored body of this drone is quite strongly built and its wings are foldable. The manufacturers must also be praised for the carrying case that comes with the drone, which makes the drone ideal for traveling.
The agricultural inspection takes more time than other inspections, and the 45 minutes flight time of SenseFly eBee AG is best-suited to it. In the automatic flying mode, it can survey 19km of land in one go. On top of that, its safety features keep the drone and the people around safe while flying it at a lower altitude.
SenseFly debates that eBee is the easiest to fly a drone manufactured till now. The user only needs to throw it up in the air, and it will automatically start flying and capturing images. When the process is complete, it will also take off by itself. So, controlling it doesn’t need any skills or effort at all!
The 18.2MP built-in camera produces pretty sharp images. Be it the soil or the crops that you are inspecting, the drone will capture any errors that are there. However, its price is too high for personal usage and is better suited for companies.
- Weight- 1.3 kg
- Flight speed- 40-110 km/h
- Flight time- 45 minutes
- Camera- SenseFly S.O.D.A.
- Area coverage- 19km
- Built-in software- eMotion
4. Search & Rescue – DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual
The next drone on our list is the magnificent tool named DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual. The 32x digital zoom on this drone’s camera makes it such a perfect choice for search and rescue, as well as roof inspections and aerial photography.
Its 48-megapixel camera itself is quite powerful, capturing sharp images even when you need to maintain a safe distance from your subject. The innovations don’t stop here, it even has a 640 x 512 thermal resolution camera, which lets you inspect areas even when proper lightings aren’t available.
Mavic 2 Enterprise also goes well with RTK, letting you achieve much accuracy in your inspection project. The intelligent safety mode sends signals to nearby aircraft to avoid collision and keeps the drone steady in stormy weather conditions.
The drone comes with its own sturdy case, remote controller, built-in camera, charger, speaker, and all the necessary parts. Overall, it is a much more reliable option for drone pilots who want a wide range of features in their drones.
- Weight- 899g
- Flight time- 31 minutes
- Maximum speed- 72 kph
- Camera- 48 megapixel with 32x digital zoom
- Sensor- 2.3” CMOS
- Video resolution- 4K
- Display Modes: FLIR MSX, Infrared & Visible
5. Commercial/Industrial Inspection – DJI M300
If you are looking for the perfect drone for industrial inspection, DJI M300 it is! Among the drones mentioned in this article, this one has the longest flight time, which is 55 minutes.
It also has many advanced options like night mode, dual pilot control, omnidirectional sense, etc. The two supported cameras- Zenmuse H20 and H20T, can carry multiple sensors, and thus offers zooming, laser, and thermal rangefinder. The laser rangefinder allows you to accurately inspect a subject by illuminating it in poor light conditions.
The impressively designed body of this drone is capable of staying steady even in extreme weather conditions, with a wind resistance of 15m/s. It performs quite well in rain and wet areas, but the body isn’t waterproof.
Another important aspect of this drone is that it can carry up to 3 payloads, altogether weighing less than 2.7kg. It also supports third-party payloads. Therefore, you can alter the drone according to your need.
The six-directional sense stops it from crashing into any obstacles, keeping people and properties safe while inspecting.
- Weight- 9kg
- Maximum flight time- 55 minutes
- Maximum speed- 51mph
- Camera- Zenmuse H20 and H20T (12megapixel) with a focal length of 24mm
- Sensor- 2.3’’ CMOS
- Maximum zoom- 200x
- Video resolution- 4K
- Wind resistance- 15m/s
Finding the ideal drone for your inspection job isn’t that easy, especially since there are thousands of options to choose from. Of course, you’d want to buy a drone that is of the best quality and reasonably priced. The drones we have listed in this article were chosen keeping exactly those criteria in mind. So, you can either rely upon these or do your own research to find the perfect drone for your task. In the end, what matters is that you fruitfully use your drone for your desired kind of inspection.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is drone inspection?
Drone inspection means monitoring and recording data regarding the condition of a property. Drones can be used for inspecting roofs, sewerages, agricultural fields, construction sites, and many more.
What training is needed for drone inspections?
If you are using a personal drone for non-commercial inspections, training isn’t necessary. But for commercial use, one has to be trained by any institutions authorized by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). In the training, you will learn about operating drones, the rules, and regulations of flying drones, handling emergencies, etc.
Does drone inspection need certification?
Drone inspection requires certification from a testing center that has been licensed by the FAA. Other than that, your drone also needs to be registered with the FAA.
Is there any drone inspection course?
There are many courses available on drone inspection. Some of the best ones are offered by Pilot Institute, Drone Masterclass Academy, Drone Pro Academy, DARTDrones, etc.
Can I fly a drone to inspect my roof?
You can most definitely use a drone to inspect your roof. In fact, it has become quite a popular practice due to its high efficiency, faster results, and lower costs.
How much does a drone inspection cost?
In average, drone pilots charge around $80 to $150 for inspections per hour. However, it can be significantly more or less depending upon the complexity of the area that you are inspecting.
Feature Image by freepik.com