Drone Data Capture

Now, businesses see how much drones can help streamline certain processes and make work easier. If you’re a business owner considering the merits of drone data capture, then keep reading. This article will dive into the basics and benefits of drones

Drones have become a critical competitive advantage in inspecting multiple types of assets: saving time, costs, and risk.  Previously, an inspection required an inspector to climb the structure, taking pictures and performing measurements manually from a significant height.  This process is complex; it takes long hours and requires multiple personnel on site for safety.  The data that inspectors can generate through manual photographs and measurement is sparse: manual inspections frequently require multiple visits in order to gather sufficient information to perform required maintenance.

Operating a drone manually to get that data requires training, skill, and hours of practice.  A pilot gathering data for a tower inspection, for example, must understand what inspectors will need to see.  The pilot must also understand how to fly an aircraft precisely around an asset to gather accurate aerial images; despite obstacles, wind, or the need to change batteries in the middle of the flight. The data then needs to be analyzed and processed into a digital form that is useful to the client: pointing out potential problems from thousands of images and building an accurate asset replica can be a time-consuming process that requires expert knowledge.

How Do Drones Collect Data?

Drones are an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) navigated and controlled without ahuman pilot onboard, but they are more than just flying robots.

Drones are an essential and flexible tool used for capturing data. They collect large volumes of high-resolution accurate information in a safer way.

However, some models do offer drone autonomy. While the drone may fly itself, it does still require a person to either input a set route and coordinates or to turn on a Follow-me function.

For many industries, the data capture platform offered by drones has helped to change the way we gather information. Drones now allow businesses to photograph, survey, map, video, and conduct asset data digitization where a person cannot go.

For example, drone inspection data management can assist a business in multiple ways. It can conduct an aerial inspection, process the imagery, and then upload it to a cloud-based platform. Construction sites can make use of an automated drone inspection to ensure safety compliance and so much more.

In short, various industries can use data from drones to gain actionable business insights. There are a myriad of ways for how to use drones, but the most popular is assisting with a company’s digital transformation.

Autonomous drone platforms remove many of the variables and issues present in gathering aerial data.  Drone autonomy allows users to get the results they need, without having to figure out the complex problem of acquiring insightful data.

A platform that allows autonomous drone inspections does much of the difficult work for you,” says Tomer.  “The software knows what data you will need, it plans the ideal flight for you and it resumes the survey seamlessly after battery swap”. Machine-learning software can process the data, identifying problems specific to particular industries and utilizing images to build precise 3D models of industrial structures.

The Benefits of Drone Data Capture

Accurate data gathered in autonomous drone inspections allows enterprise customers to create precise digital replicas of their assets, known as Digital Twins, sharing that data easily across large organizations.  This is critically important in allowing enterprise companies to reconcile the existing historical data in their asset management systems with current visual evidence of exactly what each asset holds.

Digital twins can also support additional functions within the enterprise such as quality assurance, engineering, sales and security.

The advantages of using drones for data capture

  1. Improving safety: One of the most important advantages of using drones is the removal of people from unsafe and dangerous environments. Instead of sending out employees to high-risk environments, a drone can be used to inspect and survey these environments remotely in a far safer and lowered risk volume.
  2. Improved accessibility: The size and weight of drones allow them to access places where people can’t easily reach. Drones capture consistent information and imagery closer and with higher resolution.
  3. Progress monitoring easilydrones enable frequent data capture and progress monitoring of assets.
  4. Workflow integrationLow-cost, off the shelf drones, bring a huge value relative to their cost, integrating drones into the existing workflows, ensure better data better design solutions, adding deep value to the project. Mobilizing a team to gather aerial imagery and information can now be conducted more safely, accurately and shared more widely.

What the Future Holds

Drone autonomy is evolving in phases, each one expanding upon the functionality of the previous phase.  At this point in the industry’s development, the first phases of autonomy have been realized.  There are numerous solutions that accommodate some level of autonomous flight planning.  AI-driven autonomy can plan flights based upon mission parameters with some level of input from the pilot: machine-learning driven processing engines can highlight points of interest in the aerial images gathered.

Drone Data Capture Can Help Your Business

vHive’s enterprise drone solutions allow for more than one drone to fly simultaneously while maintaining segregation for safety: in the near future, any user of the vHive platform will be able to see all of the drones they have in the air, dynamically coordinating multiple drones for multiple teams.  Eventually, as a robust framework of unmanned traffic management (UTM) develops, drones operating on different platforms to perform a variety of missions in common airspace will be able to interact with each other, deconflicting seamlessly and safely in dense airspace.

Ultimately, drones will be able to navigate anywhere – even in GPS deprived environments – and fly themselves safely without human pilots.  This will help to revolutionize many traditional industries – but there is much more to explore.  New levels of autonomy will raise new issues about the uses of augmented and virtual reality in autonomous inspections.  New questions will be raised in global aviation about the role of the human pilot, appropriate laws and certifications for autonomous aircraft, and the appropriate uses for new technologies.

At vHive, we are always thinking about what will come next, how we can create new opportunities for our clients, and how we can anticipate the impact that these tools will have.  vHive is here to support your digitization journey by providing an enterprise-grade end-to-end autonomous software solution.

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