Skyports Drone Services and Field partner on BVLOS inspections


Skyports Drone Services (SDS) and Field are partnering to offer utility and infrastructure inspections BVLOS in Europe. 

The new service will give owners and operators insights at a faster rate than previously possible, by combining Field’s linear infrastructure inspection ecosystem based on uncrewed aircraft system (UAS) technology and software with SDS’ Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) capabilities.  

Available across the UK and Europe, the service uses Field’s drone, sensor, and software solution developed in Norway to conduct aerial inspections and capture data. The system captures and transfers data to the cloud whilst maintaining cyber-security standards. All of which reduces the need for physical inspections and limits workers’ exposure to potentially risky situations. 

Jimmy Bostrøm head of Emerging Markets at Field said: “Our complete BVLOS ecosystem has been tested thoroughly, undergoing more than 6500 flight hours under the world’s harshest conditions, from subzero arctic temperatures to extreme desert winds and heat. It’s a robust and complete linear inspection solution. There is no other solution like it on the market.”

Current asset survey methods for the rail and utilities sector are largely manual, relying on single-sensor drone flights flown visual line of sight, or use of helicopters. Field’s multi-sensor payload can complete multiple surveys at one time. Combined with SDS’ flight permissions and experience of long-range BVLOS flight, the new solution will enable up to 100km (62miles) of linear infrastructure to be surveyed in a single day. 

Alex Brown, director of Skyports Drone Services added: “This new service offering not only provides utility and infrastructure owners with rapid and detailed insights into their assets but also facilitates critical decision-making, cuts operational costs, enhances safety, and produces significantly lower emissions than existing solutions. We look forward to making the Field solution available to rail and utilities customers and continuing to demonstrate the value of BVLOS drone operations.”  

The two firms have recently launched alongside their first customer, an undisclosed UK national linear infrastructure company.  

The technology

Field UAS technology: Field’s in-house developed and produced drones are made for linear inspection and have flown thousands of hours in harsh environments. Field’s all-in-one sensor captures high-resolution oblique images, thermal images and LiDAR and Nadir images in parallel.

LiDAR AI: Highly accurate colourised LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) point clouds use AI to detect vegetation management issues within two days of data capture. This has the potential to save time, money and even lives by identifying hidden vegetation collisions with power lines.

Defect Identification: High-res and thermal imagery uses AI to identify defects and is easily trained by users within the platform. This saves time manually reviewing thousands of survey images and increases detection of defect identification.