The importance of Quality Assurance in UAS utility inspections
— by Kenneth Burger, UAS Quality Assurance (QA) Inspector, Spright
Data is an invaluable asset and requires management by professionals who are committed to quality assurance (QA) and information security. When evaluating drone service providers for utility inspection, it’s important to understand how a standardized QA program contributes to overall service quality and operational success.
As it applies to unmanned aerial systems (UAS) utility inspections, an established QA program ensures that all aspects from pre-flight planning through data delivery are managed with accuracy and attention-to-detail. This translates to scalable, cost-efficient, and results-driven drone inspection solutions.
- Review customer assets and project requirements
- Develop data capture plan to align with deliverables
- Coordinate with operations to define flight requirements
UAS QA inspectors work cross-functionally to enable continuous process improvement and project success.
An established unmanned aerial systems (UAS) utility inspections QA program ensures that all aspects from pre-flight planning through data delivery are managed with accuracy and attention-to-detail.
- Assess incoming data to verify quality and integrity
- Monitor data capture to ensure collection of required images according to project scope
QA inspectors are subject matter experts that understand the fundamentals and components of electrical systems and key points of interest when performing utility asset inspections. Applying the latest technology to identify faults and failures enhances the QA inspector’s ability to customize data into actionable information specific to the customer’s needs and preferences.
- Data processing into various file formats
- Data verification to ensure completeness and correct geospatial positioning, image quality and review of inspection points
- Image review and fault detection/classification
- Final file preparation including application of feature codes and deliverable requirements to the data files
Once the information collected has met all QA requirements, an actionable data report is generated that summarizes findings according to project requirements. Having the data analyzed by QA professionals and delivered as action-oriented information enables customers to respond with focus and efficiency to avoid service interruptions.
An established QA team acts as an independent department that performs quality control checks and audits to ensure data is properly handled, processed, analyzed, and stored. Having a comprehensive QA program with defined methods and procedures for utility inspection based on industry standards leads to accurate and reproducible customer deliverables that contain useful and actionable data. These insights allow utility companies to efficiently dispatch repair crews to the right area with the right tools and helps them save resources by preemptively addressing failing components before they become suboptimal.
When it comes to UAS utility line inspections, the quality of information being delivered is the ultimate measure of project success. Access to a dedicated QA team that ensures data quality is an important value-added service that should be a major consideration for utility companies evaluating drone service providers for potential partnership.
Kenneth Burger is UAS Quality Assurance (QA) Inspector at Spright where he is responsible for managing customer data deliverables to ensure project success.