Remote Inspection Technologies

Posted on 12th Oct 2020

remote inspection

New technologies such as drones, climbers or robot arms are rapidly entering the inspection era, adhering to the contextually digital transformation trends. The use of Remote Inspection Techniques (RIT) is increasing. Today, drone can be used as an alternative to close-up surveys. RIT may significantly reduce the survey time and costs, while improving the safety of surveyors and the owner’s personnel.  RIT in performing inspections of steel structure on vessels and floating offshore assets in service, when those inspections are being used toward the credit of Periodic Surveys as required. 

A close-up survey normally means the structure is within the reach of the surveyor’s hand. With RIT, the surveyor can avoid the use of costly rafting, cherry pickers or staging, while still obtaining the information required to credit a close-up survey of a tank or hold.

This standard sets down assessment criteria relating to the use of a Remote Inspection to perform inspection of steel structure for the purpose of identifying and quantifying defects within that structure. This standard does not deal with the assessment of quality aspects or safety aspects of Remote Inspection and their operation, nor does this standard deal with the approval of service suppliers.  

There are few types of Remote Inspection 

UAV – unmanned aircraft/aerial vehicle

ROV – remotely operated vehicle used underwater

Crawler – robotic platform able to move around structure by remaining attached to the structure

Fixed – sensor deployed in a fixed location


Common defect found in steel structures will be cracking, deformation, coasting breakdown or corrosion. Cracking can occur in structure because of fatigue at structural connections, as a result of structural overload and impact or from latent defects in parent material or welds. Deformation may be present in the structure from new build. Permanent structural deformation can be caused on ships in service by buckling from impact, or from overload by compressive forces or shear forces. Structural deformation can also be caused by tank testing.  The coating breakdown conditions can be categorized by Good, Fair or Poor. Condition with spot rusting on less than 3% of the area under consideration, condition with rust penetration on less than 20% of the area under consideration or condition with rust penetration on more than 20% or hard rust scale on more than 10% on the area under consideration. Corrosion can manifest in steel structure in the form of general wastage, edge wastage (knife-edging), grooving and pitting.  

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