Lufthansa Aerial Services (LAS) will use drone maker DJI’s aerial platforms to provide commercial services such as inspection of aircraft, power lines, roads, railways, above-ground pipelines, construction sites and crops.

The companies signed an agreement, under which LAS will develop hardware and software for DJI’s drones, operate the technology and facilitate data analysis.

Lufthansa Aerial Services programme director Christian Hartmann said: "The market potential of commercial drone applications is growing inexorably thanks to the continuously improving regulatory situation and speed of technological progress in the market and innovation that DJI as the global leader has initiated.

"This includes a variety of commercial applications such as for infrastructure inspection, measuring and monitoring purposes."

LAS recently used DJI’s drones on a pilot project to inspect rotor blades for a wind turbine manufacturer. The drones replaced manual inspection to collect data on how frequently a rotor blade needs inspection and maintenance.

"Lufthansa will offer clients a one-stop UAV shop."

In December, LAS collaborated with Fraport and DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung to test drone technology at Frankfurt Airport in Germany. Test flights inspected the north runway of the airport for two hours.

If implemented, Fraport can expect to replace automotive vehicles with drone technology to check runways and taxiways for unauthorised foreign objects.

A project of Lufthansa Consulting, LAS seeks to offer commercial drone services to large infrastructure of clients.

Lufthansa Consulting managing director Andreas Jahnke said: "Lufthansa will offer clients a one-stop UAV shop.

"This includes everything from application consulting and drone operation with data analysis, to training and certification of drone pilots at Lufthansa flight training, or even the provision of drone insurance solutions through Delvag, Lufthansa’s in-house insurer."

Google has filed patents for delivery receptacle for automated package delivery using a drone. The drone receives IR rays emitted by the receptacle to reach the latter and deposits the package with the receptacle, which will take it to a secure location such as a warehouse.

Image: LAS and DJI executives sign a partnership deal. Photo: courtesy of DJI.