Investing in your first UAV

By |  November 20, 2018
With UAV mapping efficiently producing such precise maps, there's no reason to be putting human lives on the line for this task.

With UAV mapping efficiently producing such precise maps, there’s no reason to be putting human lives on the line for this task. Photo: iStock.com/rusm

When you’re in a position of power in an industrial company, you obviously need to have logistically sound and fiscally responsible reasons when investing in new technologies.

No one is going in front of a board or a boss to argue for the purchase of an automated drone by stating how inarguably cool drones are. While it’s certainly true, that argument alone doesn’t make a good case.

Fortunately for anyone trying to make the argument to switch to unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) mapping, there are very good reasons to ditch the old, outdated mapping methods and fly higher with a drone. Here are four key reasons:

No. 1: It’s safer

Without the use of a drone or UAV, the mapping of industrial sites of any significant size requires sending a small aircraft into the air with a pilot and at least one other professional.

That’s at least two lives at safety risk for every mapping mission, plus the lives that would be endangered by a crash in a populated area. With UAV mapping efficiently producing some of the most precise maps possible, there is just no reason to be putting human lives on the line for this task.

No. 2: It’s cheaper

Protecting human lives is important, of course, but there’s no reason to pretend there wouldn’t be a major financial benefit to eliminating small aircraft from your industrial mapping.

Forget the costs of renting or owning the aircraft, fuel, maintenance, arranging for a flight time, paying a pilot and mapping professionals, and all other costs that don’t directly have anything to do with the mapping. UAV mapping accomplished with an automated drone eliminates all of the aforementioned costs and doesn’t add in the cost of a drone pilot, as automated industrial drones can complete an entire mission without any human intervention.

No. 3: Affordable LiDAR is coming

There’s no denying LiDAR is a very good mapping and surveying technology. However, there is one problem with LiDAR: the cost of it. Using a proven technology means paying for it.

However, with UAVs making such inroads into mapping and surveying, the race is on among leading UAV companies to develop a LiDAR payload light enough to become an everyday option for drone mapping or surveying, and there’s a good chance that technology will be made available in the very near future.

The key to making drone LiDAR mapping available to your company as soon as the first lightweight LiDAR payloads hit the market is investing in a UAV that is a true industrial multi-tool, one capable of switching out sensors.

No. 4: You can do a lot more than mapping

There is an argument against investing in a drone that is specifically built for mapping and surveying. In fact, there is reason to not invest in a mapping and surveying drone, because if you get the right leading industrial multi-tool drone, it can be used for a variety of applications – including security, surveillance, inspections and emergency response.

With a leading automated industrial drone, this can even be accomplished automatically, with the drone swapping its own sensors in order to complete its range of tasks.

Well beyond the cool factor

For years, drones have been weighed down by the intense hype surrounding them. Now that automated industrial drones are meeting and exceeding lofty expectations, they’re becoming a part of many day-to-day industrial operations, including mapping.

We’re rapidly progressing to a point where drones aren’t just considered cool anymore because applications like UAV mapping will simply be industry standard. Until then, however, drones are both cool and the best technology for the job – and for very good reason.

Debbie Fletcher is an enthusiastic, experienced writer who has written for a range of different magazines and news publications over the years. She is a graduate of City University London specializing in English literature.

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