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Avianca develops Autonomous Drones for Airliners

Avianca, the Latin American carrier has announced that they are in the process of internally developing an autonomous drone to inspected grounded aircraft for the damages that are caused by bird strikes and lightning. Avianca plans to internally develop the drone and navigation system with a provision schedule of fully launching operations for next year. Jose Ospina, the maintenance engineer for Star Alliance carrier revealed that while other airlines have partnered with drone makers, Avianca is taking it upon themselves to make this happen.

A quad-rotor drone equipped with a GoPro camera and unshrouded blades was developed for maintenance inspection applications by Avianca and Ospina himself demonstrated a prototype of the flying drone while during a press tour on September 28th of a newly debuted maintenance hangar in Rionegro, Columbia. Ospina navigated the prototype drone using a hand controller with a wireless link. Ospina says the final version of the navigational system will be completely autonomous with each of the four rotors to be shielded by a protective shroud from the blades causing the damage. Furthermore, Avianca is developing a system that utilizes ultrasonic beacons for a 3D view of the environment and the software that runs the drone will use a geometric model in order to determine the location of the aircraft relative to itself.


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