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The greater value is in the data captured. Because small drones can fly at low-altitude, they make perfect precision image and data capture vehicles. Right now, it’s more efficient to fly an inexpensive drone over a large land area than it is to traverse it in a vehicle — and even more efficient than sending out an expensive multi-person surveying team. Keep in mind a digital photograph or video is not simply an image or composite of images. Rather, it is the result of processing visual light (blue, green, and red) as a binary numeric representation of a two-dimensional image—in other words, light becomes digital data. As cameras become more resolute, the amount of data captured goes up — as does the potential value of those images. But prices are coming down. For example, what once was available a few years ago only from a high-value satellite image service provider now comes from a drone affixed with a consumer level camera and off-the-shelf PC software. The software can automatically build textured 3D models from still images. And then there’s infrared cameras. They are now small enough, light enough, and cheap enough to mount on a drone. Infrared cameras don’t just let you see differences in heat; they let you measure those differences. So, there’s even more valuable data to evaluate. Big farms mean big data. Dr. Kevin Price of Kansas State University says that about 80% of the money that will be spent on unmanned aerial vehicles in the next 10 years will be spent in the area of agriculture. He and others predict this will be a $100 billion industry by the year 2025. Agriculture applications for drones currently in development include data collection on crop health, vigor and yields; tracking the spread of invasive plant species; and monitoring cattle feedlots. Field images from cameras mounted on drones can be captured within an inch of accuracy. You can’t get that from a satellite or commercial aircraft image. Small drones are agile enough to provide ‘anywhere, anytime’ remote access. That means farmers and ranchers can do daily surveys to find exactly the right time to harvest or replenish feed stock. Similarly, changes over time can be equally revealing. By doing regular surveys and using software to highlight differences over time, it’s possible to zero in on anomalies. This valuable information, of course, can be used to improve productivity. Cloud-based services are the future. You can buy a decent image-capture drone off the shelf for about $1200 US, but that doesn’t make you an image information specialist. The first thing you need to realize is that flying a drone and taking pictures is merely the first step in the data collection process. Images need to be corrected, calibrated, processed, stored, and evaluated. For precision agriculture, data quality and post-processing are critical to getting real value from the images. And helping the customer attain that value is the role of a data services provider. Already PrecisionHawk offers a service they call PrecisionMapper, “a cloud-based application that gives anyone the ability to upload, store, process, and share their aerial image data.” By gathering data on a large scale over time, service providers will be able to process unprecedented levels of detail data and turn it into usable information for farmers. This vision is confirmed in a recent article where PrecisionHawk’s president Ernest Earon says ” the company views itself as a data company, rather than a drone company. He envisions an “app store” model that would allow, say, somebody in North Dakota with a top-notch algorithm for detecting potato blight, to license it to other farmers.” There you have it. This is the future of small drones and I suspect as their use and applications increase small and medium business (SMB) niche service providers will flourish. And as they flourish these firms will differentiate themselves based on processing speed and the salience of their insights. Certainly the use of a cloud-based in-memory computing platform to accelerate analytics, processes, and predictive capabilities will be foundational to that differentiation. Feel free to leave a comment telling me about your interest in this innovation.
Obtaining a Special Airworthiness Certificate in the experimental category for a particular UAS is currently the only way civil operators of unmanned aircraft
are accessing the NAS. Experimental certificate regulations preclude carrying people or property for compensation or hire, but do allow operations for
research and development, flight and sales demonstrations and crew training. The FAA is working with civilian operators to collect technical and operational
data that will help refine the UAS airworthiness certification process. The agency is currently developing a future path for safe integration of civil UAS into
the NAS as part of NextGen implementation.
COAs are available to public entities that want to fly a UAS in civil airspace. Common uses today include law enforcement, firefighting, border patrol,
disaster relief, search and rescue, military training, and other government operational missions. Applicants make their request through an online process
and the FAA evaluates the proposed operation to see if it can be conducted safely.
Recreational use of airspace by model aircraft is covered by FAA Advisory Circular 91-57 (PDF), which generally limits operations for hobby and recreation to
below 400 feet, away from airports and air traffic, and within sight of the operator. In June 2014, the FAA published a Federal Register notice (PDF) on its
interpretation of the statutory special rules for model aircraft in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. The law is clear that the FAA may take
enforcement action against model aircraft operators who operate their aircraft in a manner that endangers the safety of the national airspace system. In the
notice, the FAA explains that this enforcement authority is designed to protect users of the airspace as well as people and property on the ground.
The FAA estimated just last year that there could be 30,000 Drones in the skies by 2020.
Regulations - FAA
Power Plants & Energy Oil & Gas –Minery
Advanced Image processing
Monitor power lines, turbines and
Access to remote areas
Geophysical and geomagnetic surveys
Calculate the nature of the magnetic
Predict the location of mineral
Oil, Gas and Mineral exploration
Monitoring of the integrity of oil and
gas pipelines and related installations.
Infrastructure & Transport
Inspect aging infrastructure across
the nation: bridges, roads, buildings,
railways, harbors, and ports.
DEMs and orthophotography
Understand, monitor, and optimize
road and train track conditions,
traffic patterns, mapping. Land
surveying & Landslide measurement
Agriculture Public Satefy – City Next
Determine seeding and harvesting
periods or infestation or other crop
damage. Spot crops that need water,
fertilizer and pest control.
Monitoring irrigation and water
supplies, livestock, and crops while
saving time, money, and manpower.
Disaster relief and recovery, and
search and rescue
Immediate BEV of Incidents.
Aerial inspections at will to locate the
cause of power outages.
Not need the cumbersome safety
procedures and gear when sending
Sports & Events
A drone’s mobility and aerial
perspective allow dynamic, diverse
and accurate videos of events.
Precise and useful data can be
extracted using the right video
analytics and computer vision
They were used in the 2014 Winter Olympics in
Sochi for filming skiing and snowboarding events.
The power of Apps: Plan, Flight, View
The power of the Cloud: Plan, Flight, Process
Plan, Search, View
Store, Process, Analyze
The power of the Data
Arr.drone 2.0 by Parrot
•Low latency streaming
•Video storage on the fly with remote device or with USB flash drive
•JPEG photo capture
•720p - 30FPS - H264 encoding base profile
All parts and
on the internet
• Wi-Fi connection to the Ground Control System
•Outdoor and Indoor Hull
1GHz 32 bit ARM Cortex A8 processor with 800MHz
video DSP TMS320DMC64x
1GB DDR2 RAM at 200MHz
USB 2.0 high speed for extensions
Iris+ by 3DRobotics
Remote Sensing: Current … Futures
UAV remote sensing functions include electromagnetic spectrum sensors,
gamma ray sensors, biological sensors, and chemical sensors.
A UAV's electromagnetic sensors typically include visual spectrum, infrared, or
near infrared cameras as well as radar systems.
Biological sensors are sensors capable of detecting the airborne presence of
various microorganisms and other biological factors.
Chemical sensors use laser spectroscopy to analyze the concentrations of each
element in the air.
Today, sUAS make accurate, high resolution point clouds representing the “surface”
LiDAR sensors will become common in the next 1-3 years, and will produce high
resolution point clouds of the earth, not only the surface of things.
Drone or UAV - unmanned aerial vehicle, also unpiloted aerial vehicle
Or UAS - unpiloted air system or RPA - remotely piloted aircraft
FAA - Federal Aviation Administration
BEV- Bird eye view
GCS - Ground Control Station
GDT – Ground Data Terminal
FPV – First Person View
FMV – Full Motion Video
APM Advanced Power Management Support
Commercial Applications for Drones
• UAVs for “Three D” (Dull, Dirty or Dangerous) Work
• Surveying & Mapping
• Civil Infrastructure and Engineering
• Agricultural Monitoring – Precision
• Process, Power & Utilities: pipeline security – Thermal Infrared
• Wildfire Mapping
• Disaster Management
• Law Enforcement/Security/Emergency Response
• Aerial Surveying of crops
• Acrobatic aerial footage in filmmaking
• Search and rescue operations
• Crowd monitoring – Surveillance, Home Security and Road Patrol
• Television News coverage, moviemaking
• Freight Transport
• Law enforcement
• Weather monitoring
• Livestock monitoring
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