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Drones in business



Kirjoittanut: Marcos Homar Heinonen - tiimistä SYNTRE.

Esseen tyyppi: Yksilöessee / 2 esseepistettä.
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 5 minuuttia.

I recently bought a drone as I was interested in aerial photography and the world of drones. The availability of capable drones has increased making it easier for beginners to get into the drone world. The most recognized manufacturer of drones is called DJI which makes most of the commercial drones sold today. They also make drones that are the easiest to fly with safety features that make flying these capable machines easier than ever.

Drone Categories

Drones are categorized based on their weight. These categories are A1 which consists of drones lighter than 250g. A1 transitional consists of drones between 250g and 500g. A2 transitional are drones from 500g to 4kg and A3 transitional consists of drones of 25kg and under. All of these categories have different regulations and require certain things from their operator to be flown.

A1 category drones under 250g have the least requirements of them all. If a drone of these characteristics doesn’t have a camera or is categorized as a toy its operator is not required to do anything to fly. If the drone has a camera it is required to have a registration and the pilot has to complete an online test for basic operation. The registration costs 30€/year. Before the registration only affected professional drone pilots but now it affects all pilots. Drones in the Open A1 category are allowed to fly over random people, but not over crowds. Maximum flying height is 120m.

A2 category drones require online examination and supervised additional theoretical knowledge examination. A2 category drone operators are required to maintain a 30m horizontal distance from people. During take-off and landing this distance is reduced to 5m. Drones with these specifications must be registered. The maximum flying height is 120m above ground level.

A3 category drones are not allowed to fly near people. It is also required to fly 150m away from urban areas. The completion of A1/A3 training is mandatory. Online training must also be completed. The maximum flight height is 120m above ground level.

 

Use cases of drones

Drones, also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are flying tech gadgets controlled from a distance used in various tasks. Drones were initially developed for military and aerospace industry purposes. Drones’ safety and efficiency have brought them into many more industries. Now let’s check out which industries use drones to perform various tasks.

The inspection industry: Asset inspections are made with drones to check structural issues, cracks, leaks, and others. Roof inspections are performed with drones as they can go to places humans can´t while eliminating the risk of injuries and saving time. Power station inspections can be made with drones. The analysis of a problem can be made from the ground before sending operators to fix it. Oil and gas industries can inspect their tanks for faster data collection and workplace safety.

Monitoring and management: Drones can be used in waste management for garbage collection and landfill monitoring. Road safety with risk management, accident investigation, and surveillance of the road network. Traffic surveillance and monitoring can be done effectively with the help of a drone. UAVs are used to monitor and manage highway infrastructure and do inspections. Agricultural drones provide farmers with efficient ways to track their crops, follow plant growth, and take care of the land. Environmental matters with mapping a monitoring large areas for environmental investigation, protection, and management in areas in which humans and vehicles can´t access. Natural disasters and disaster relief. Drones equipped with infrared sensors can locate people in danger and help deliver supplies and medicines. Drones can help in forestry by providing accurate and timely data for analyzing tree health, tree counting, biomass estimation, and planting management. Drones are used in port and marine for surveying hard-to-reach places and checking the condition of a boat. Aerial surveying removes logistics and time investment to deliver on-demand insights into port monitoring, traffic control, operational oversight, and environmental health and safety. Coast guarding can be also done more efficiently with the help of drones. Monitoring vessel traffic, water quality and levels, weather, and fish populations have become easier. They can also inspect ships and cargo containers for illegal substances. Drones can also pick up trash from the water.

Surveying and aerial mapping: Drones with LiDAR technology can be used for mapping to generate 3D models by flying 100-200m above the ground. Survey drones can create high-quality orthomosaics and detailed 3D models. Industry-grade drones are used at mining sites for surveying, asset inscription, terrain mapping, stockpile estimation, security, and surveillance. Drones provide aerial perspectives of the mining site at a fraction of the cost and improve operational efficiency. Drone mapping is used at dumping grounds to help identify potential concerns early, ensuring safety. It detects environmental hazards, like washed-off chemicals and gases before they become dangerous and costly.

Construction: Land development by aerial images taken by drones simplifies and accelerates the process of topographic surveys for land planning, development, and management. Site scouting, allotment planning and design, and building construction, road, and utilities. Engineering projects are done with drones. They produce high-quality information and images at a lower price. Digital models can be created with the captured footage of drones. Real estate agencies use drone footage to create aerial images and videos from unique perspectives of properties. It offers the potential buyer a 360-degree view of a property.

Photography and videography: Cinematography uses drones to capture beautiful sceneries from the sky. A small drone can capture high-quality aerial footage that was not so long ago only possible with a real helicopter and expensive cinema equipment. This lowers production costs drastically. Weddings and events are being captured with drones creating illustrative and dynamic photos and videos that can show the scenic surroundings. Advertising companies use drones to make their marketing campaigns more appealing. Images and videos from UAVs create high-quality engaging content that keeps customers engaged. Aerial photos and videos are great marketing tools. Beautiful scenery attracts the attention of customers and therefore increases sales.

The key benefits of using drones are that they increase work efficiency and productivity. Decreasing workloads and production costs. They improve accuracy and precision in highly demanding tasks. The use of drones is relatively safe as they are unmanned and can be controlled from a distance. Drones can also fit in places where otherwise it would be impossible to access making many beforehand impossible tasks possible. Drones are also fast to set up and get into the air making them efficient and reliable.

 

Harmful activities

As with everything positive, there is also a negative side to things. This applies also to drones. Their amazing capabilities are being wrongfully used to do bad things as well. Bomb drones are being used in wars to hit targets with incredible precision. Their small size makes them more difficult to spot. People may also use them to spy and get into restricted areas where they should not be able to access. For these specific situations, there are technologies in modern drones that prevent this from happening. The biggest drone manufacturing company DJI has measures to prevent things like this from happening. Restricted areas like airports and military bases are being marked as no-fly areas which prevent drones from entering their airspace without permission. A notification pops up if the pilot is approaching a restricted area to inform them about the situation. This helps people from accidentally flying into restricted areas where flying is dangerous or forbidden for privacy reasons. It also prevents drone manufacturing companies like DJI from getting sued. Fines for illegal activities with drones can climb up to ridiculous amounts.

My verdict is that drones are amazing pieces of tech that can be used for various tasks as we have seen. From saving lives to videoing footage on a holiday, drones are very capable of many tasks. What was not so long ago only possible with a full-size helicopter is now possible with a drone only weighing 250g. Modern drones are easy to fly making them enjoyable for all types of flyers. Footage captured from the sky looks amazing and makes observing different locations a blast. Drones are not toys and can cause big trouble if flown irresponsibly. Let’s follow the guidelines provided to us carefully so that we can fly drones in the future as well.

 

Sources:

AUAV, What is a drone used for? Commercial uses and applications in various industries, 2023.

https://www.auav.com.au/articles/what-is-a-drone-used-for/

Droneinfo, EU drone regulation, 2021

https://www.droneinfo.fi/en/eu-drone-regulation

EASA, Open Category  – Civil Drones, 2023

https://www.easa.europa.eu/en/domains/civil-drones/drones-regulatory-framework-background/open-category-civil-drones

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