Toshiba & ESS develop drone-based inspection technology

04 November 2019

Toshiba Corporation (Toshiba) and Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation (ESS) have developed a drone-based inspection technology for complex industrial facilities, such as power plants, oil refineries, and chemical manufacturers.

The new solution comprises 3D laser measurement technology, a drone-mounted video camera, optimized flight route creation technology for the drone, and image recognition technology to identify the condition of plant structures and check for signs of fatigue and deterioration. The process ends the need for people to carry out perilous inspections in dangerous places, and Toshiba and ESS are currently refining the technology to application level through verification testing in Japan.

Toshiba Group aims to realize the efficient use of personnel and secures safety by using drones for plant facility inspections.

Toshiba and ESS tested the system on a boiler facility, including sections that are temporarily out of service, at Mikawa Power Plant in Omuta, Fukuoka prefecture, which is operated by Sigma Power Ariake Corporation, a subsidiary of ESS. The system successfully verified the whole process, including 3D reproduction of the facility, and detected deterioration, such as rust on the structure.