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Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Use in Nondestructive Testing: An Overview

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is presently increasing for numerous nondestructive testing (NDT) applications with the emergence of new technologies. The research and development of composite materials and circuit technology concerning UAVs—or drones as they are more commonly known—is allowing them to become a more stable platform for visual inspections and assisting in the preplanning phase throughout the industry, especially in bridge inspections (as shown in Figure 1) (SenseFly 2018). This groundbreaking technology allows personnel to reach areas that once required a plant shutdown or the use of access equipment such as ladders, scaffolding, or other specialized equipment. The use of UAVs in the industry will continue to create an environment that will allow for safer inspections and reduced downtime, because technicians will be placed where they are needed most (Dahlstrom and Branch 2018).


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