The implementation of the HUD administered manufactured home installation program, which started in 2015, now covers 13 states. Additional states are expected to be added to the list before the end of this year. The purpose of this program is to ensure that manufactured homes are properly installed. In addition to requiring all home installers to be licensed and trained, the program requires that 100% of all new homes be inspected by a qualified inspector.
As an approved IPIA by HUD, NTA’s inspectors have been inspecting the installation of homes all across the country since the inception of the program. In an effort to keep housing affordable and safe NTA is always looking for new and innovative ways to save time and money, and improve compliance. NTA’s engineers have developed software that uses autonomous drones to complete these home inspections at a fraction of the cost.
The software uses Google’s TensorFlow and their inception image classification model to recognize components of the home. Once identified the images are passed to another neural network that determines compliance. NTA utilized transfer learning on the inception-v3 model and the 1000’s of images that it’s inspectors have collected over the last 2 years. Currently the average accuracy of all components is just above 93%. The software evolves and improves as more inspections are completed and verified by NTA engineers.
The hardware platform is a Phantom 3 Advance which is then customized to include additional computing power with the NVIDIA Jetson TX1 module. As the software steps through the checklist of items that must be inspected it uses the NVIDIA technology to classify the components in the videofeed in near real-time. Once all items have been inspected, the report is verified and emailed to the licensed installer.
NTA plans to overnight ship the drones directly to the home installer and automatically inspect the home's foundation and connections. Future plans also include a blue-tooth enabled, pneumatically fired pocket-penetrometer to determine soil bearing capacity along with additional sensors to assess frost susceptibility.