One year ago, Bureau Veritas (BV) conducted its first remote survey using an inspection drone. Today, remote surveys are a vital part of the ship inspection regimes of many classification societies.

Developers of video and drone technology have been nipping at the heels of the shipping industry for years, but it took the outbreak of coronavirus to truly raise awareness of their offerings.

Remote inspection techniques were reflected in BV’s rules in 2019, but it claims that a March 2020 intermediate survey of a bulker established “proof of concept” for the most advanced techniques, including close-up inspections and ultrasonic thickness measurements conducted by the drone in two cargo hold spaces.