New chimney drone

Reducing risks and amping up speed!

Together with Hadek Protective Systems, we have created a new special purpose drone, designed to fly autonomously to inspect industrial chimneys faster and better.

Hadek is the expert on power plant chimneys. They came to Avular to help them make chimney inspections easier, faster and safer. Smart move, because we have just the right tools to help them: our Vertex drone platform and a team of highly-skilled engineers.

So, we adjusted a Vertex drone platform specifically for chimney inspections. We added a sophisticated camera module and localization based on lidar, barometer and IMU.

The lidarsensor is integrated to measure the position relative to the walls of the chimney (x and y). Following the implementation of the lidar sensor to the Aerial Curiosity, we adjusted the control software to work with the lidar measurements.

After the successful integration we’ve selected and implemented a camera module suitable for this specific use-case. Communication between the camera module and a ground station through a wireless link was established, including a simple Graphical User Interface.

The result

Finally, we were able to demonstrate the result to Hadek; the Aerial Curiosity flying autonomously at location through a chimney provided by Hadek. The drone was placed in the middle of the chimney and flew up and down the chimney autonomously, as many times as necessary to shoot a video of the entire chimney wall. The video was stored locally for post-flight analysis.

A live-stream was established to enable the team direct control and checking. The live-stream also stated the current altitude, velocity and yaw angle.

Reducing risks and amping up speed

With a successful demonstration we ended the first phase of the project. Now it’s time for phase two!

This video by Hadek includes an interview with Avular’s CEO Albert Maas and tells more about the project.