Drones could soon be helping the Royal Navy to inspect large warships, speeding up the process by removing the need to construct scaffoldings or erect ladders.
The British naval force has already tested the technology on the Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond at Portsmouth Naval Base.
The ship’s 150m-long hull was examined by a drone taking high-definition stills and videos for engineers to assess.
The Royal Navy said using the technology could speed up inspections from weeks and days to hours. It would even allow performing such checks at sea where it is impossible to erect scaffoldings.
"I am delighted Diamond could assist in such an important trial,” said Commander Marcus Hember, HMS Diamond's commanding officer.
"The Royal Navy is an advanced high-tech service and the ability to reduce time and cost during these maintenance periods, as well as allowing ships to diagnose their own defects at sea, will enhance the operational capability and flexibility of the Navy deployed worldwide."
The Royal Navy is not the first organisation harnessing the abilities of the nascent unmanned aircraft technology to perform inspections of large transportation vehicles.
British budget airline EasyJet has been trialling drones since last year to examine their aircraft in between flights. Similarly to Royal Navy, the firm is enthusiastic about the technology’s potential to speed up the regular examinations and maintenance and thus reduce the downtime of the planes.
EasyJet will start using drones for inspections on regular bases across its engineering hubs in Europe by the end of this year.