As people have become increasingly comfortable with innovations in technology, as well as living in a virtual/remote world of work, drone technology and applications have become more important than ever. However, before we delve into the exciting long-range applications for drones, let’s briefly explore the benefits drones can offer commercial enterprises.
Drones: The Benefits
Drones have long been known for their ability to collect mass amounts of information in a short period of time. They also have the capability to travel where it is difficult (if not impossible) for humans to venture. With the ability to fly close to the ground and gather detailed data and high-resolution photography, drones are the perfect technology to help numerous industries conduct their business.
In addition to their speed and ability to gather tons of data, accuracy is another major benefit of drones. In fact, Measure.com gathered solar inspection data from a drone and compared it to the same information gathered by humans. The result? Drones boasted an amazing 99% accuracy rate, when compared to the human data.
Applications for Drones in the Utility Sector
From the solar, gas, and oil energy industries, to the telecommunications field, drone applications are endless. Specifically, there are several key scenarios in which drones can complete utility-related tasks more quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively – especially for long-range applications – including the following:
Inspections. Inspections can be arduous and time-consuming when using human capital to complete the task. With drones, it suddenly becomes possible to inspect miles of solar panels, power lines, etc. very quickly. This not only saves the company critical time but also saves money.
In the case of solar panels, a drone can utilize thermal mapping to immediately identify damaged solar cells. This makes the need for hours of ground inspections practically obsolete!
For other utilities, drones can quickly and easily inspect oil rigs and oil (or gas) pipelines. And in the event of an oil or gas leak, a drone on the job can explore and pinpoint damage much more quickly and safely than a person can.
When it comes to telecommunications, drones make network testing and tower inspections much easier and safer (lexology.com). Meanwhile, offshore inspections are another difficult, time-consuming task for humans to conduct, but with drones these inspections can be relatively quick and simple operations.
Another reason drones should be considered for inspections is that the level of detail a drone can capture is unsurpassed, when compared to traditional methods. A whitepaper from Measure.com confirms the amazing abilities of drone usage for inspections:
“In Wind and T&D applications, drones can capture close-up, detailed imagery of potential defects that enable maintenance personnel to really see what’s going on – is the apparent damage at the surface level, or is it structural? Drones can also capture tower, pole, and turbine images from most any angle, which is often not possible with other inspection methods. In solar applications, drones spot sub-module defects that manual inspections typically miss. These improvements in data help asset managers make better decisions about needed repairs, thus optimizing their maintenance budgets and minimizing downtime” (Source: The Case for Drones in Energy).
Assessing storm damage. Just as drones are invaluable for inspections, they can also be priceless when a storm hits. In the event of a devastating weather event like a hurricane or tornado, it is critical to assess the damage and then make repairs as quickly as possible. Drones are able to survey and pinpoint devastated regions, and this can help repair teams prioritize and focus their time and resources on the appropriate storm-ravaged areas.
Site prospecting and development. Instead of spending hours physically surveying land for a potential acquisition, a utility company can employ drones to quickly gather the necessary information. With traditional methods of surveying land, this could take days! However, by using drones, relevant data can be gathered, allowing developers to create a cohesive map of the entire area, in a matter of hours.
In the solar technology space, drones can provide accurate topography and high-resolution maps for any areas that a company may be prospecting (dronedeploy.com). Drones can serve a similar purpose for oil, gas, telecommunications, etc. companies as well.
“Beyond-human” data gathering. In some instances, drones simply can detect and “see” things that the human eye cannot. For instance, “sophisticated data-gathering and analytics provided by drone technology helps [oil and gas] operators analyze sensor information from offshore and onshore sites, which flags potential issues the human eye cannot detect . . . [In fact, many] energy giants are turning to drones to search for corrosion prone areas on oil rigs so they can plan safe and productive drilling operations” (simulyze.com). Not only that, but drones can work 24/7 – unlike humans – and this contributes to the productivity potential that drones have to offer.
Aerial Response Solutions: Drone Technology at Its Finest
Aerial Response Solutions (ARS) offers long-range hybrid aircraft – and mobile command centers – that can meet any of your commercial needs. Our drones are fully customizable, so you can tailor the aircraft based on your priorities, needs, and operations. From the energy industry to telecommunications and other utility work, consider the features Aerial Response Solutions has to offer for any long-range operation:
- Site-specific HAZMAT sensor readings
- 3-D mapping
- Vertical takeoff and lift
- Sense-and-avoid capabilities
- Advanced imaging
- And more
Visit http://www.aerialresponsesolutions.com/ to learn more about how we can assist you with your long-range missions and commercial applications, to keep your organization running smoothly.