Drones have come a long way in the past five years or so. Once seen as a toy for the wealthy, today UAVs have the power to reinvent old businesses and create new ones. Whether it’s providing news coverage, helping the emergency services or inspecting sewage systems, drones are doing some pretty amazing things today.
To find out more about the incredible work drones are doing across the world we decided to take a look at five of the most innovative uses of the new technology. The five commercial drone use cases here, highlight the breadth and diversity that drones bring to solving problems in the 21 century.
1. AWTG using AI-assisted M210
Telecommunications services provider Advanced Wireless and Technology Group is using a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) integrated with its own proprietary AI (Artificial Intelligence) to carry out a range of commercial operations. These include; rapid emergency response, preventative maintenance, facilities surveys, perimeter security and land surveys.
By using AI to manage and navigate the drones, AWTG significantly reduces the cost of operation for its customers. This allows them to automatically deploy drone technology cost-effectively in a number of situations which would otherwise prove too expensive to carry out. One example includes automatically deploying rapid emergency response drones to aid patients in distress.
The drone AWTG uses to carry out its missions is the DJI Matrice 210. Part of the Matrice 200 Series, it can be equipped with a range of payloads depending on the mission. The multiple payload options of the M210 is what makes it appealing for this kind of work.
The work AWTG is doing is at the forefront of AI development. Never before has the technology been used to remote pilot unmanned aircraft in this manner. While the technology is still at an early stage, it has already proved useful in cutting emergency response times. So it will be exciting to watch how the technology can be deployed in other real-world scenarios in the near future.
2. Innovair using an M210 for land surveying and inspection
Innovair is the UK’s leading developer of advanced robotic technologies that can be used to address a variety of industry challenges. The company’s solutions allow their customers to capture repeatable, measurable data which improves operational efficiencies while also reducing the risk of injury to workers on site.
Innovair supplies a range of land survey and inspection services to companies in the energy, construction and industrial sectors. To complete this work the company uses a DJI M210 drone, which is fast becoming the drone of choice for such operations due to its flexibility and multiple payload capacities.
One example of how Innovair is using the M210 is by replacing traditional ground-based survey techniques used in quarries to survey stockpiles. Using traditional methods, surveying a stockpile of 100-hectare quarry would take a team of men seven days to complete. But Innovair can complete the same task using the M210 in a single day.
And speed isn’t the only advantage of using unmanned aircraft. With an internal accuracy of +/-20mm and absolute accuracy of +/-50mm, the M210 is able to capture much more accurate readings than traditional survey methods. This allows the customer to create more accurate daily production measurements. Something that was all but impossible to achieve before.
3. Swift Films using an Inspire 2 for video production
Richard Nicholls runs a highly successful independent film production company in Edinburgh. They specialize in producing independent films and documentaries for television. Their work has been featured on Discovery Channel, ITV and Sky Arts.
Swift had been working with a number of outside agencies to provide aerial photography using helicopters. But this was expensive work and rarely did the budget allow for such footage to be created. Drones have changed all that. By developing its own in-house aerial unit, Swift can now provide high-quality aerial filming using their Inspire 2 equipped with Zenmuse X7 camera.
Drones have come on leaps and bounds over the past five years, just a few years ago it wasn’t possible to capture professional footage using the types of drones which were available. But with the Inspire 2, smooth cinematic footage can be created in both ProRes or Cinema DNG format.
The Inspire 2 is the drone of choice for such work, it is easy to fly, can be fitted with a range of payloads and is compact enough to take anywhere. When fitted with the Zenmuse X7 camera, it can deliver 6K footage and supports the new Apple ProRes RAW format.
The ability to create high-quality aerial footage using the Inspire 2 has transformed Swift’s production capabilities. Aerial imagery is now offered by the company at a price that is accessible to even the tightest budgets. While spectacular aerial footage can be shot in the most unforgiving of environments.
4. Flyability Elios inspects Barcelona’s sewer system
When a sewage pipe was damaged during a recent storm, the result could have been a major environmental disaster. The break in the pipe was causing 500 cubic meters per second of raw sewage to leak directly into the Mediterranean. The problem with sewage pipes is that they are hidden from view, making the leak difficult to find.
Using traditional methods of sending men down into the sewage system or using ground-based robots was not practical due to a large amount of sewage in the pipe. The solution was to use the Flyability Elios drone to quickly inspect the system in order to find the leak.
The Flyability Elios is an innovative drone which is capable of flying in confined spaces thanks to its protective frame. The drone can literally fly alongside walls, pipes or even people without the risk of injury or crashing. That makes it the ideal drone for inspecting sewage systems.
Using the Elios the exact position and scale of the leak were pinpointed and an emergency bypass was created by engineers. This prevented waste sewage from spilling into the sea, averting a major environmental disaster.
Without the use of the Elios, it would have taken engineers much longer to find and assess the leak. And with the pipe in danger of further collapse, would have involved risking the lives of engineers.
5. VTOL drone WingtraOne used in wildlife research to cut risk, cost and time
Animal conservation isn’t the first place you would expect to find a drone, but that didn’t stop Murdoch University in Australia from using the devices to monitor endangered sea mammals.
The endangered Dugong is a close relative of the Manatee and lives in the warm coastal waters of the Indian Ocean. These gentle giants spend their day munching through underwater grasses. But their languid nature made them easy prey for hunters, who prized them for their meat, oil, skin and bones.
Today the Dugong is protected from hunting, but it is coming under a new threat. The increase of ocean temperatures combined with recent cyclone events is destroying its natural habitat.
Researchers needed to find a way to monitor the species over vast areas of ocean. For decades, manned aircraft were used to carry out this task, but the results were patchy. Aircraft are expensive and spotters armed with conventional photography equipment could only collect limited amounts of data.
A new solution needed to be found, and the answer came in the form of the WingtraOne VTOL drone. The WingtraOne flies like a conventional aircraft but can take off and land like a helicopter. This provides much more range compared to a multirotor drone, but without losing any of the practicality.
The WingtraOne can take off from a small boat and track the mammals for over 1000 acres (400 ha) of ocean in a single flight. And because the WingtraOne can fly much lower than conventional aircraft, the quality of images recorded provides much more accurate data for the scientists.
The WingtraOne is proving fundamental to helping track the animals and providing new insight into their breeding and migration patterns which can be used to help protect the species in the future.
Drones for good
These five cases highlight the innovative work drones are doing across the globe. Drones help to improve efficiency, lower costs, save lives and protect animals. These are only five examples, but we could have written over a hundred. The fact is that drones really are changing the way we work for the better.
The range of applications a drone can be used for is limited only by your imagination. There are some limitations you must abide by. You can’t fly a drone higher than 500 feet (400 feet in the U.S.) for example, and you will need permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to carry out commercial work.
At COPTRZ we can help you achieve your Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO) from the CAA and provide a range of training courses to help you get the most out of your drone. As one of the leading drone pilot training providers in the UK, we provide expert levels of training. So contact COPTRZ today to see how drones can transform your business.
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