Airbus has already demonstrated the use of Ascending Technologies’ Falcon 8 UAV with RealSense depth-sensing technology from Intel to visually inspect airliners. The manufacturer has said it will implement UAV inspections of the A350XWB widebody airliner this year.
As said, for the initial tests the company used a multi-rotor UAV supplied by Ascending Technologies, a German company that U.S. semiconductor manufacturer Intel acquired in early 2016. “Now it’s a manual system with people having to climb all over the plane,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich told the Xponential 2017 conference in Dallas in May. “With Airbus we’ve developed a system that’s capable of doing inspections both on the tarmac or in the hangar. Airbus has developed additional software that allows you to do an airplane inspection, identify and geolocate defects, understand their size and dimensions, then push out a data report that allows you to go back and do a repair.”
The GRVC-CATEC team will implement a UAV-based tool delivery and locating system at Airbus Defence and Space’s Centro Bahía de Cádiz site in El Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain, early next year, said Antidio Viguria, head of CATEC’s avionics and unmanned systems department. The plant specializes in manufacturing carbon fiber components for programs including the A400M transport and A330 MRTT (Multi-Role Tanker Transport). It also produces fan cowl doors for the A320neo narrowbody airliner.