There is no doubt about it; drones are revolutionizing industries. They’re being used for an endless array of applications. Here are just a few examples of how drones are making an impact across many industries:
Drones can be used in:
- Agriculture – using drones to measure crop health, and spray pesticides on crops. See how we have combined drones and virtual reality in this crop assessment we did in the fall of 2016.
- Photography – whether for real estate, cinematography, or just for hobbyists, the cameras that are carried on some of the drones today are able to take amazing aerial photography and videography.
- Construction – providing valuable project management details
- Mining – calculating aggregate stockpiles and volumetric calculation surveys
- Infrastructure inspections – performing inspections of buildings, pipelines, hydro lines, bridges, roads, etc..
- Forestry – using NDVI to determine tree canopy and forest stand health
- Conservation – measuring losses or gains of riparian zones in wetland areas
- Policing – crime scene and crash scene analysis, as well as surveillance investigations
- Firefighting – providing scene management advantages, and determining hot spot activity
- Search & Rescue – obviously, an aerial vantage is going to help drastically in any search and rescue operation
- Education – using drones to help illustrate concepts in physics and math, as well as providing a stimulus for kids to be interested in learning
- Surveying – using georectified orthomosaic stitches with RTK (real-time kinematic) or PPK (post-processed kinematic) GPS data can provide sub-inch accuracies, while simultaneously providing a visual of the area being surveyed
Elevation survey collected using a DJI Phantom 4 Professional and Propeller Aeropoints elevation mapping GPS-enabled ground control points
So why are drones better than planes or satellites?
- Speed: On-demand drone services which can be on-site within minutes and quickly deployed is great for relatively low-duration operations
- Efficiency: Using a high quality, heavy-lift UAVs can carry several sensors, such as multi- and hyper-spectral, LiDAR, thermal infrared, near-infrared, or just standard color cameras on drones to collect huge amounts of data at once.
- Low cost: The cost of drones has come down by an order of magnitude – and they require less maintenance than aircraft. Many use rechargeable batteries which are often relatively expensive, but… they’re rechargeable. If you treat them properly they will last a long time!
- Safety: Drones can enter environments that are dangerous to human life, and thus provide a huge advantage to traditional methods of gathering information (for example: high-altitude infrastructure inspections)
- Precision: With a drone, you can gather extremely high-resolution imagery from low altitude. You can measure elevation or calculate distance and angular metrics using high-powered software to analyze drone imagery.
- Versatile: There are a few different types of drones, such as multi-rotor, fixed-wing or a hybrid (vertical takeoff and landing), each having their own distinct advantages, however, the multi-rotor is the most versatile of the three, as it can be used for everything that the others can, except very large-scale projects, as well as so much more!
These are just a few of the amazing applications of drones that we are seeing being used today – this list is in no way comprehensive – there are many, MANY more uses for drones that are being discovered daily.
How can I fly drones to do all of the things mentioned above?
You need 3 things:
- UAV (Drone) Ground School Training
- Liability Insurance specific to UAV Operations
- SFOC (Special Flight Operations Certificate) OR to meet all of the conditions of the Exemption from an SFOC