Intel And Airbus Enlist RealSense Cameras, Drones To Visually Inspect Aircraft For Defects

It goes without saying that Intel's RealSense technology is very impressive, as it's able to accurately scan its environment and pass along loads of data to a computer for analysis or image recreation. A popular scenario with RealSense has been with the flight of drones; with the technology, these little flyers can navigate their surroundings without crashing into obstacles - an important feature for companies like Airbus.

The major reason we haven't seen RealSense deployed all over for various things is that it's simply expensive technology, at least right now. But for companies like Airbus, which produce aircraft valued in the hundreds of millions, an early-adopter's fee for RealSense is going to seem quite minimal. So, it's gone ahead and picked up on the technology.

In the video above, Airbus Head of Quality Nathalie Ducombeau describes how drones are now being used to visually inspect aircraft, aiding those who have to do it manually. She notes that ordinarily, it'd take a regular inspector up to 2 hours to complete their job, while with a RealSense-equipped drone, it takes just 15 minutes.

If it doesn't sound too interesting that a drone can fly around a plane and help inspectors spot problems quicker, it gets better. While the drone flies around the aircraft, it'll take about 150 images in total, images which are reconstructed once sent to a computer and formed into a 3D model. From there, the inspector, with a large touch screen, can manipulate the view of the plane as necessary, zooming in and out and even turning the aircraft upside-down (quite challenging for a regular inspector, we've heard).

Airbus Visual Inspection RealSense

Airbus notes that it's begun testing this new technology on just one aircraft type, but the company hopes to expand the rollout to its entire fleet by the end of the year. This technology isn't just one more thing that will help keep aircraft looking better and perhaps even working better, it's simply nice to finally see another excellent RealSense win. Hopefully this is the sign of things to come, as RealSense could prove valuable in many industries (including consumer electronics).