US: The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved Tremco Roofing & Building Maintenance's Building Envelope Aerial Mapping (SkyBEAM) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for conducting commercial drone operations in the night-time.
The SkyBEAM flies around buildings and uses high-definition (HD) video and thermographic (infrared) cameras to trace potential energy leaks, rooftop damage, deteriorating façades, safety issues and other problems.
The fitted thermographic camera demonstrates temperature variations around a building that indicate problems, including poor or missing window sealing or wet rooftop insulation, which can lead to major capital expenses, increased operating costs, occupant discomfort and other issues.
Conventional infrared scans need technicians to cross rooftops at night, while façade inspections dictate working from scaffolding or cranes.
Compared with traditional means of mapping buildings, SkyBEAM is a safer, faster and more cost-effective option that provides more accurate information.
The UAV's high-resolution video camera is claimed to have the ability to read the fine print on a warranty from a distance of 50ft.
Tremco Roofing sales vice-president Paul Sheehy said: "Using SkyBEAM to gather building data is the best solution overall.
"We programme the UAV to fly to a precise height, do the mapping and return. We can now map buildings without the time and expense of using tools such as scaffolding.
"SkyBEAM enables us to find problems for our customers that would have been virtually impossible to detect before, and without risking people's safety."