Whether they’re scaling a 300-foot-tall wind turbine or inspecting a narrow chimney, field service technicians often juggle ladders, ropes, helmets and other gear to reach inaccessible places.
But there may be an easier alternative for techs to scout problems without having to climb, crawl or crouch. Technology company Parrot is developing a camera-armed drone, the Bebop, that could allow techs to inspect areas remotely with high-definition 1080p video. The drone is controlled with a smartphone or tablet app and includes a 14-megapixel camera, gyroscope, accelerometer, altimeter, magnetometer, pressure sensor and a vertical camera. The Bebop weighs less than one pound, can fly up to 650 feet and has a range of 1.2 miles.
The drone beams footage to Parrot’s Skycontroller mobile app, which can be used as a controller on iOS and Android devices. The app also allows users to pre-program flight plans and schedule when, and at what angle, the drone will take photos. According to Wired, Bebop won’t be available for purchase until the end of this year and so far a price hasn’t been listed. However, its safe to assume that it won’t be cheap as their competitor, GoPro, offers similar drones with built in cameras for up to $400.