Drones are a hot topic right now, often for all the wrong reasons.
While you may have mixed feelings about them, I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t!
Sure, in the wrong hands (or more likely, poorly instructed and/or misinformed hands), drones can be dangerous or intrusive.
However, when used correctly, they can be incredibly useful and give your business a strong competitive advantage…
Outlining the myriad uses that they now occupy would be a novel, and rather than subject you to that (let’s be honest, you’d probably just not read it), we’ve put together a list of 7 use cases that we anticipate will grow rapidly in 2018.
Here they are.
7. Emergency assessments
Things are great when it all goes to plan right? Well unfortunately, sometimes it just hits the fan. When it does, getting rapid, broad detail in a situation can give decision-makers critical data that has previously been too expensive or difficult.
Back in 2015, AECOM capitalized on drone technology for this very reason. After a series of severe rainfall events, a section of road subsided creating a hazardous work environment. Pilots enabled by FlyFreely were able to acquire high resolution imagery and create a highly accurate 3D model of the location which was then relayed to AECOM's geotechnical engineers.
6. Wildlife Spotting
While this one is a little specific, it is increasingly becoming more popular. Anyone involved in environmental management can benefit tremendously from drone technology. From gaining access to the forest canopy to thermal monitoring of pest species, there are myriad ways drones can provide real-time information far cheaper, safer and faster than traditional methods.
A great example of this is work conducted by NQ Dry Tropics and Dalrymple Landcare group in performing thermal spotting of wild deer populations.
5. Environmental Health Monitoring
Beyond wildlife, drones have huge potential in the environmental sector broadly. Aerial imagery is a unique and powerful way to identify problems or check on infrastructure. Worried about tailings seepage? Throw up your handy mavic and have a look!
In 2017 the Queensland Environment and Heritage Protection deparement leveraged FlyFreely to conduct aerial surveys on sensitive wetlands as part of a broad Environmental Impact Assessment. The results of these surveys provided valuable information for stakeholders and the public. Well done EHP!
4. Herbicide Application
Getting more serious we have herbicide application. Up until recently, drone capability has simply not been sophisticated or cheap enough to make spraying feasible. With recent innovations and plunging price points, capable spray drones are now practical for many land managers.
You'll need to get the appropriate certifications for herbicide application, but once you have that, spray drones are a great addition to your operations. Difficulty getting up that slope or through long grass? No worries - do it by drone.
3. Community Engagement
Often overlooked, drones are a fantastic tool to generate powerful aerial imagery. Communicating project goals and progress with the public is a big deal.
Aerial imagery gives unique perspective and looks fantastic. Next time your onsite, why not throw up a drone and give your viewers something special.
Greening Australia has done a great job of this in their Reef Aid program. Delivering spectacular images as part of their information articles for the public. Take a look at them here.
2. Construction Monitoring
The public aren't the only ones who want to know what's going on. Project managers and company executives are often not co-located with developments. Regular aerial monitoring photographs or video deliver objective information on progress, and can be sent digitally - anywhere.
Watpac Construction has taken the lead in this field with their recent stadium construction monitoring project. Key personnel from around the country can access derived data from anywhere in the country to assess progress.
And our top pick for 2018 in the drone world is...
1. Weed detection
It was a hard decision picking the most promising application this year. However, the winner is clear. Agriculturalists have been by far the most ready to start implementing drones, and 2018 is unlikely to see a stop to this. With large land areas and an ever-growing list of noxious and invasive species to tackle, weed monitoring is perfect for drones.
High resolution aerial imagery is almost an essential part of farming these days. Long gone are the days where land holders have to scour their fields on foot. A suitable drone and a spare set of batteries can seriously speed up the time it takes to perform weed checks.
However that's not all of it. Recent advances in image recognition and machine learning have meant it is now possible for algorithms to evaluate plant types and deliver highly accurate assessments of weed incidence and extent.
InFarm is making superb headway in this area with their recent advancements in fallow weed detection.
And there you have it. 7 ways drones could benefit your business in 2018.
If you’d like more information on any of these, or additional ways that drones could work for you, reach out!