Usually when you hear the words 'drone' and 'airport' in the same sentence together, you're listening to another story about irresponsible UAV pilots disrupting air traffic and generally flying where they shouldn't. But one airline sees things a little differently, and has partnered up with a major drone manufacturer to show why there might be some hope for the future...
German giant Lufthansa is one of the world's largest commercial airlines, and has just signed a deal with Chinese drone maker DJI to produce, among other things, airport friendly reconnaissance UAVs. The partnership is largely expected to be an exploration of the vast potential for drones in the commercial sector. Lufthansa are said to be keen to use the DJI platform to build drones which can efficiently inspect aircraft exteriors and turbines, whilst airport runway checks usually carried out in person could also be automated.
The airline also sees drones equipped with thermal imaging as the way forward for maintenance in other industry sectors, such as infrastructure inspection for railroad lines, solar farms, crops and construction sites.
The initial deal will serve as a kind of probation period, with Lufthansa making a decision on whether to fully commit to drone services by the end of 2016. Whatever they decide, it may not be too long before handy drones are buzzing around airports all over the world.
In other DJI-related news, in case you haven't heard, Airnest is now the only 3rd party app available for the DJI Phantom 3 Standard, 4K and the Inspire 1 Pro. This added compatibility builds on current use with the DJI Phantom 3 Pro and Advanced models, as well as the DJI Inspire 1. You can download it for a promotional rate of $9.99. Happy flying!