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Talent Internship Programme

Feasibility study on conducting remote runway inspection using a tethered drone system

Changi Airport’s runways are currently inspected visually five times a day for pavement defects that may be hazardous to aircraft. There is an operational runway downtime of up to 5 minutes each time the runway has to be closed for visual inspection. Runway capacity can be better optimized, leading to more flight departures and arrivals if the 5 mins inspection can be further reduced. To reduce the 5 mins inspection while ensuring no compromise to aircraft safety using the runways, the intern shall research on the feasibility of using a tethered drone system to replace human visual inspection of runway pavement defects with 3 main objectives: (1) achieve high quality images in all weather conditions to enable them for Phase 2 implementation which will cover machine learning in identifying potential pavement defects; (2) limit this process within 5 mins; and (3) leverage as much as possible on the existing infrastructure to optimize the number of tethered drones required. A tethered drone system is recommended to be evaluated in this case due to restrictions on flying drones in an aerodrome. The intern shall conduct a pilot trial off Changi Airport and present a technical proposal for implementing the solution in full scale. The recommendation report shall include the merits and limitations, its effectiveness, and a cost-benefit analysis taking into consideration the full implementation cost and the time savings reaped.


Civil Engineering preferred.
IT knowledge.
Drone / Robotic project experience.
Good PR skills as interactions with contractors and suppliers are needed.