No More Manual Surveys – It’s time for DRONES!


DNV GL conducts inspection of ship tanks using camera-equipped drone


The classification team of DNVGL based in Gdansk, Poland has conducted several tests using drones to support the hull survey of two vessels at the Remontowa shipyard.

A camera-equipped drone was used to visually evaluate structural components.  The video was streamed to a tablet. One surveyor operated the drone, while a second checked the video feed in real time.  The stream was also recorded for review and documentation purposes.  Equipped with a powerful headlight, the drone was able to produce a video of sufficient quality for initial inspection purposes. I n the event any damage is detected, a traditional close-up survey may still be required.

Purpose of the tests:

  • To help customers by accelerating the survey process.
  • To identify areas that require closer inspection quickly and without extensive staging.
  • Drones are now much more widely available and affordable that saves cost and time.

Challenge faced:

  • Modified off-the-shelf drones are used as no drones are formally certified as explosion-proof that are commercially available.

Adherence of Safety Measures:

  • During the test it is ensured that the cargo tank is gas-free and certified for safe entry before the drone operation adds work.

Future plans for development:

  • To work with a more advanced tailor-made drone in early 2016.
  • A special guideline for performing drone-based surveys is under development.


“Using a drone in combination with a system like IRIS could be very beneficial to our customers.  We have already demonstrated the ability to place images within a 3D model and furthermore to assess the individual findings.  These are the first steps towards an automated survey process which might include using a drone to make the initial survey, taking the images generated and then running them through an algorithm to determine the hull condition,” says Dr. Pierre C. Sames, Director of Group Technology and Research.

About DNV GL

Driven by its purpose of safeguarding life, property and the environment, DNV GL enables organizations to advance the safety and sustainability of their business.  Operating in more than 100 countries, the company’s 16,000 professionals are dedicated to helping their customers in the maritime, oil & gas, energy and other industries to make the world safer, smarter and greener.  For more information visit

Source: DNV GL