Classification society ClassNK has unveiled a new set of guidelines to help direct the use of drones in class surveys of vessels.

The new Guidelines for Use of Drones in Class Surveys feature the desired range and procedures for use of drones in class surveys, as well as the technical considerations for safe operation and requirements for drone service suppliers.

According to ClassNK, the guidelines are set to address the issue of increasing use of drone-related technologies in various industrial sectors.

The maritime industry has also witnessed several efforts that are targeted at the use of drones in the fields of inspections and surveys.

Discussions have already started at the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS).

“IACS revised its Unified Requirements, which is expected to come into effect in January next year.”

In June 2016, IACS modified its Guidelines for Use of Remote Inspection Technics for Surveys.

IACS revised its Unified Requirements, which is expected to come into effect in January next year.

ClassNK said in a statement: “When flying a drone in places such as the cargo hold or ballast tank of a ship, it is important to take into consideration the possibility that the drone may not function properly due to being in a closed space surrounded by magnetic material, which may interfere with some of the sensors of the drone (GPS and magnetic compass), which are closely related to flight stability.”

In response to this concern, ClassNK created an R&D Roadmap in September last year describing its efforts related to drones under the item ‘Survey Technology Innovation’, which is one of the company’s Four Focus Areas of R&D.

Before creating the roadmap, ClassNK started a full-scale study in January last year to understand the use of drones in class surveys and had conducted several types of verifications by carrying out basic performance experiments and tests for flight inside ship tanks and cargo holds.