Drone technology provides endless entertainment for hobbyists, photographers, and .even crowds looking for a creative alternative to fireworks are jumping on the bandwagon.
But we’ve long since evolved from the perception of drones as toys. With advances in computer vision, autonomous flight, and safety systems, drones have become something more: sophisticated data-gathering tools capable of adding value in all manner of industries.
Flying robots are being put to work in transformative ways, cutting costs, dramatically increasing efficiency, and improving safety in the process...
Commercial drones are becoming vital data collection tools in countless industries with technology saving lives with applications in public health and emergency response, keeping workers safe by bringing industrial inspections into the 21st century, and powering a productivity revolution in the agriculture and construction industries. Wildlife Protection and Research The vital work of wildlife conservation and research has its challenges. Often, projects are run by small teams with limited budgets. And there are significant barriers to entry for those who want to get involved. One of those barriers is funding. Conservation and research projects have to be paid for. Data doesn’t collect itself. Marine conservation Drones have become a powerful and affordable tool for all sorts of wildlife projects, democratizing participation and extending the reach of science. The technology has been a game-changing tool for marine conservation organisations in order to monitor the health of our oceans. This priceless data is being collected faster, with greater accuracy, and at a lower cost than ever before.
Drones are also bringing outdated research methods into the 21st century. Previously, Organisations would have attempted physical biopsies to gather the data they need. Another marine organisation is using the technology to provide an overview during efforts to untangle whales from fishing nets, ensuring humans can help without themselves being put at risk.
Protecting endangered species Drones are making an impact on dry land, too. In big cat research and In Kenya, security teams are using the technology to protect elephants from poachers.
Following forest fires and habitat distraction in Australia, commercial drones with thermal imaging capabilities have been put to work supporting wildlife search and rescue missions; animal have been saved and that number will grow now this new application has been tried and tested. Exploring, understanding, and protecting the natural world has never been more important. Drones are empowering the work of scientists and conservationists around the world. Public Health Since the Coronavirus pandemic rose to prominence, drones have become an in-demand tool in the sphere of public health. The promise of drone deliveries - consisting of both vaccines and other medical supplies - has the potential to supplement COVID-19 efforts.
Drones are coming to the fore because they can travel directly and reach isolated populations. They also allow for remote deliveries and minimal human to human contact.
These latest efforts follow a series of success stories from companies and Beyond the pressing need to tackle the pandemic, drones are at the forefront of efforts to tackle malaria being arguably the biggest killer in human history reducing mosquito numbers with the aid of commercial drones.
Commercial drones are useful tools in any scenarios that involves data gathering at scale, heights, or a requirement for mobile sensors. In the burgeoning renewable energy industry, flying robots are being used to cover all three of those bases.
The size and capacity of solar farms are growing exponentially around the world. To keep them operating at maximum efficiency, regular inspections are required. But the scale involved makes this a challenge.
By combining drones with the latest remote sensors, inspection crews can cover huge areas and pinpoint areas of concern.
Just like in the solar industry, wind farms are made up of delicate equipment that can, when not working efficiently, considerably impact electricity generation and bottom lines for energy companies.
Drone technology has enabled new inspection workflows, reducing costs compared to manned aircraft, preventing the need for inspection crews to scale turbines unless it’s absolutely necessary, and using data gathered to detect anomalies.
The agriculture industry represents one of the single biggest adopters of commercial drone technology and flying robots are making an impact on farms all over the world.
Models are rapidly and precisely dispersing fertilizer and pesticides, and capturing data beyond visible light and are now established and essential tools for modern farming.
Drones, data analysis, mission planning, and cloud services can all combine to inspire growth in your farming business.
Drones are being used around the world to support cultural preservation programs. One reason why is that they provide accessible platforms for remote sensing.
For many archaeological and restoration projects, detailed maps and models are required before work can get started. The need to gather this data in a timely and cost-effective manner has always been present and developments in drone technology have led to the rapid adoption of equipment for aerial surveys.
Search and Rescue
First responders armed with the latest in remote sensing technology can more easily locate people in need. Drones have made thermal imaging from above an accessible and affordable tool for search and rescue teams around the world.
Often, Search and Rescue missions have to navigate total darkness and wide search areas. Drones with thermal cameras provide a combination of fast response times, ease of use, and persistent aerial surveillance - all at a fraction of the cost of a helicopter carrying the same equipment.
And it’s not all about thermal. Advances in RGB and zoom functionality, put powerful visual capabilities at the fingertips of first responders.
Mountain rescue and police teams around the world have adopted drone technology, finding missing people in Britain, stranded hikers in Iceland, and survivors following devastating floods in Vietnam.
Many data gathering tasks traditionally mean putting people in harm’s way. With drones, that doesn’t always have to be the case.
Nowhere is that trend more apparent than in firefighting, where drones are being used to support time-tested approaches and in the development of new methodologies.
Drones can be used as situational awareness tools, providing aerial intelligence to first responders on the size and direction of a blaze - particularly at night or through smoke, when thermal imaging can be used to provide clarity from above.
Often, that aerial view can be used to guide the actions of groundcrews,tackle fires with greater efficiency and sweep for hotspots that might lead to secondary fires.
Emergency situations involving hazardous materials require a great deal of care and caution. First responders approach scenarios with a time-tested process that prioritizes safety.
But despite long-standing methodologies drones are making a significant impact in the field, providing situational awareness for teams that typically rely on radio contact, scouting areas of concern to pinpoint where crews need to deploy to and what situation they will be faced with and even in some cases, delivering tools between zones.
Aerial surveys are another example of drone technology expediting the process of gathering data with preset flight paths and advanced payloads, drones can be used to generate 2D and 3D orthomosaic maps, LiDAR point clouds, 3D models, thermal maps, and multispectral maps. The application tends to depend on the industry.
For example, multispectral maps are popular in agriculture to give farmers an overview of crop health. More dynamic situations in which data needs to be gathered quickly, such as car crash reconstructions can combine LiDAR point clouds with images taken on the ground and aerial photos.
Much of the critical infrastructure we rely on in turn relies on regular maintenance inspections. For assets such as bridges, railway lines, and communications towers, it’s long been standard practice for crews to operate in precarious environments.
Commercial drones offer a safer and, in many cases, more efficient way to conduct these infrastructure inspections.
Power line inspections
One example is powerlines. By carrying out inspections remotely and at scale, grid operators can reduce downtime and quickly decide what the next steps should be and allowing inspectors to identify even the slightest of defects.
Construction is an industry of tight margins and long-term productivity stagnation. As such, it’s ripe for disruption and drones are making a big impact in the way data is gathered and site awareness is shared.
From stockpile measurements and pre-project planning to safety inspections and big picture progress updates, an eye In the sky is proving invaluable for construction companies.
Mining is a dynamic industry in which granular data is needed for informed decision-making. Drones have proven to be useful tools for gathering comprehensive and high-quality volumetric information with millions of data points - in less time, at a lower cost, and with less human error compared to traditional methods.
Automated flight planning and data processing have led to a workflow revolution across the industry. The adoption of drones also ensures staff aren’t put in harm’s way when conducting site surveys or carrying out stockpile measurements.
Oil & Gas
The Oil & Gas industry is full of dynamic and potentially dangerous environments. Naturally, drones are proving their worth by gathering data safety and accurately.
In part, their adoption is because Oil & Gas infrastructure such as flare tips and floating roof tanks can be difficult to assess from ground level.
But the rise of drones in this industry is also down to developments in software and sensing. For equipment inspections and emergency response, with platforms being used to automate inspections with centimeter-level precision with systems to ensure the right data points are gathered during each mission.
For information on how London Drone Works can assist your industry, please Contact us!