This article was originally published in Geomatics World.
Aizawa Concrete Corporation has announced a strategic partnership with Top Flight Technologies, a leading provider of heavy-lift, long-range (HLLR) hybrid-electric unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technologies, as part of its broader effort to utilize new robotic technologies to proactively inspect and maintain concrete roads, bridges and infrastructures.
Aizawa will team up with the Boston-based aerospace company to accelerate the operational efficiency of both Line-of-Sight (LOS) and eventually Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) inspection of transportation roads, bridges, and infrastructure throughout Hokkaido and Japan. Joint efforts will extend to cultivating new business opportunities around commercial UAVs configured specifically for concrete-based inspections and various types of repair, leveraging both Top Flight's patented hybrid-electric powered Airborg UAV and its 3D Real-time Simulation Environment & Fleet Management System for remote UAV operations.
Top Flight's patented hybrid-electric power system is instrumental in developing HLLR semi and fully autonomous mission UAV-centered business models. Top Flight Airborg UAVs can stay airborne for up to two hours, while carrying a load of up to ten kilograms. The American aerospace company also offers a companion '3D Real-time Simulation Environment & Fleet Management System' used for pilot training and to build and test autonomous missions in simulation. The system also provides a "Remote Location Operation Console' that enables simultaneous operation of multiple UAV units.
Aizawa also seeks to enhance its existing operations with the application of robotic drone products and services – particularly for high-definition (HD) inspection, inventory and maintenance of assets under contract.
"In addition to solving the challenges of longer-duration flight for flying robots, Top Flight is developing the advance sensors and technologies that will maximize the effectiveness of our aerial inspection needs including quality analysis that will save our customers future ongoing maintenance costs," said Yoshihiro Aizawa President & CEO of Aizawa Concrete Corporation.
The global UAV (commonly referred to as 'drones') market, is growing at a fast pace, expected to garner US$22.1 billion by 2026.