Naval Shipyard Uses Drones for Inspection

June 10, 2020

After a storm swept through Hampton Roads in mid-April, surveying the wing-swept damage at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia was likely to take several weeks. According to Pilot online, a traditional inspection would require a construction crew to build and move scaffolding to carefully look through a building where several large windows had been shattered.

Instead, a few people stood on the ground and remotely piloted a drone that got the job done in about an hour and a half. According to the article, the storm damage assessment was the shipyard’s first project using an unmanned aerial system, or drone. Officials aim to start using the technology more, particularly in emergency management and risky inspection work. 

In the future, drones could be used for routine tasks, such as flying out tools or paperwork to crews on ships. According to the article, ever since, the shipyard has been working through a waiver process and addressing those concerns as well as pilot certifications. Officials were approved in April.