Drones could be used to detect ‘invisible’ water leaks

The Story:

Drones could be used to detect ‘invisible’ water leaks

The Link:

Link to the Article

The Gist:

Researchers from Nottingham Trent University have developed the technology to utilize infrared imagery from drone vehicles to detect water leaks in water pipe systems in the desert. The technology looks at the heat signature from the sand and can recognize abnormalities that would indicate that cooler water is leaking from the pipes underneath.

Certainly in arid, desert countries this will be tremendously beneficial. Hopefully, the technology will rapidly advance to a point where similar systems can be detect leak “signatures” in soil conditions other than sand.

The Impacts:

The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) that are more commonly known as “Drone’s” is increasing at a tremendous rate and in a variety of unexpected sectors. The ability to put multiple sensors up in the air (semi-)autonomously has myriad implications for better asset, and crop, management.

One area where we are seeing their use take off is in the agriculture sector where UAV’s are being used to identify stressed plants, drive watering strategies, and determine optimal harvest times. We are also seeing their use increase in helping with challenging visual inspections, as well as performing routine, repetitive inspections of tradition infrastructure assets.

The use of UAV’s, however, comes with some challenges that are not insignificant. Various countries and localities have their own laws regarding the qualifications for those that operate them, whether they must remain within a line of sight, and whether they can operate over populated areas. None of these challenges are insurmountable, but they need to be understood and individually addressed, and can potentially limit the ultimate effectiveness of implementing a UAV based solution.