This week Hovershotz explores the amazing applications in which drones (UAVs) are used. Commercial drone usage spans so many different business types and industry sectors. When it comes to drone technology we’ll see the possibilities are truly endless!
Hovershotz thought it would be good to take stock of the positive ways drones are helping to improve the way we do business or even just solve an everyday problem that perhaps, until the advent of drones, was unimaginable.
Drones are entering a new era. The driving force behind drone technology is increasing efficiency, increasing safety and doing so at lower costs. According to Goldman Sachs research, the global commercial drone industry is set to evolve into a $100 billion market by 2020. Right before our very eyes drones are game changing just about every business and industry sector.
We hear a lot of negative press associated with drones from near misses with manned aircraft to drones being flown over Big Ben – all it takes is just one reckless person to flout the UK’s aviation rules and the drone industry’s reputation takes a leap backwards. Drones in the wrong hands are clearly bad news, yet for all the bad press there are some very positive stories making their mark out there!
DELIVERY AND TRANSPORTATION
Perhaps gaining the most press coverage in today’s headlines is the prospect of drones being used to deliver our shopping. Drones have the potential to revolutionise the way we shop and have our goods delivered. Amazon wants to deliver packages via drone within 30 minutes of you clicking “buy” on its site. If this does take off, then this could change the future of retail and impact so many aspects of the shopping process including where businesses locate their storage and delivery premises. In July 2016, Amazon announced that it would partner with the British Government to test small delivery drones – a UK first. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has granted Amazon permission to conduct feasibility tests so it will be interesting to see the direction this ambition takes! Here’s what Jeremy Clarkson has to say about Amazon Prime’s plans for the future:
You could say DHL pipped Amazon to the post. Back in 2013, DHL flew its maiden flight and delivered its first parcel to a small German island. ‘Parcelcopter’ drone operated by DHL will be used to deliver pharmaceuticals in what the company says to be the first commercial delivery of goods in Europe via unmanned aircraft.
AERIAL INSPECTIONS AND CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS
Drones are perfectly suited to aerial inspections. Bridges, listed buildings, construction sites, solar farms, wind turbines all require drone inspections
Drones and innovations in UAV technology are helping to save lives all around the world. Iin Cumbria, UK, drones are being trialled by the Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team to search the Lake District fells for missing people and save lives. Using drones to capture footage on difficult terrain and hard to reach areas, such as mountains, rivers and woodland, allows the rescue team to gain vital information quickly, safely and respond effectively at an incident.
Drones are transforming the way emergency services and first response teams operate by not only helping emergency teams make faster, smarter and better informed decisions, but also by providing first responders with more detailed information from an aerial perspective. The technology is easy to deploy and can be used in dangerous situations without risking pilots’ lives. This ultimately saves lives and property. DJI’s video sums up well how drones are making an amazing difference to fire fighters in Branford, Connecticut, USA.
Here in the UK, police forces around the country are using drones to aid criminal investigations. Earlier in the year, The Times reported that more than a quarter of the 43 forces in England and Wales are considering introducing the UAVs following a successful test period.
Sussex and Surrey forces use a drone with a camera to patrol the perimeter of Gatwick airport for suspicious activity. The forces received a £250,000 grant from the Police Innovation Fund to buy additional SkyRanger drones. They now have five drones – more than any other force in the country.
This training video by Sussex Police provides a good visual sense of what kind of aerial night footage can be gained from launching a drone rather than a police helicopter.
Police forces in Cumbria, Devon, Cornwall and Dorset are also testing the use of drones for missing people searches and the photographing of crime scenes.
SCIENCE AND EXPLORATION
All around the world drones are helping scientists to boldly go to places that are inaccessible or too inhospitable for humans to collect data.
None more so than explorer Sam Cossman’s science expedition whose volcano mission success was crucial to drone usage. Last year drone pilots and scientists converged on Marum Crater, an active volcano in Vanuatu. The team used camera-mounted drones to capture high-definition images of the spectacular yet dangerous volcano. The scientists battled toxic gases and boiling lava whilst exploring the 7.5-mile-wide (12-kilometer) caldera. We are happy to learn that all the team survived the expedition but unfortunately two drones succumbed to the harsh environment. The exploration team was able to bring back video and photos that will help scientists learn more about the volcano and the life around it. A mission made possible only by the use of drones!
One of the world’s greatest challenges is preserving our environment for future generations while sustaining a growing global population. The key to combining greater agricultural yields with sustainable farming practices is efficiency. Drones are set to game change farming and agriculture more than any other industry and sector. This is all set to happen through precision agriculture. DJI’s Feeding the World video below helps explain how methods based on aerial systems like the DJI Matrice 100 paired with the Zenmuse XT thermal camera can help improve crop health and productivity:
ANIMAL CONSERVATION AND PLANET PROTECTION
Drones are having huge positive effects in animal conservation and habitat protection. UAV’s are helping especially in wildlife monitoring, geographic mapping and environmental law enforcement. UAV’s provide researchers with a unique ‘bird’s eye’ view of their subjects, enabling them to count individuals easily and determine the population’s size. Drones can help keep tabs on migration patterns and assess the species’ overall health. They also help keep poachers away!
UK law states that anyone who wants to fly a drone for commercial work (referred to as ‘commercial operation’) must have permission from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
Therefore if you require a drone for whatever reason; whether it is for a wedding, film, TV, aerial inspection, search and rescue or just a simple aerial image it is a legal requirement to ensure that you hire a professional drone pilot who has the correct professional credentials.
Whether you are a private individual, TV production company, estate agent, council, farmer, business owner, broadcaster, government organisation, scientist, emergency service; Hovershotz are qualified and insured drone operator.