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Monday, July 10, 2017

Some of Today’s Most Profitable Quadcopter Drone Uses

Drones, in particular, quadcopters, are quickly becoming the standard way to obtain high-quality images and other data for areas that have been hard or expensive to access. There are many quadcopter on the market, and their capabilities are unfolding rapidly, and companies such as WingsLand offer a wide array of capabilities, ranging from a mini-quadcopter that can fold up and fit in one's pocket, to larger drones capable of longer flight times (check out Drones for Sale).

Small drone services providers maintain at least four drones to assure there are sufficient back-ups and also redundancy in order to cover more than one job at the same time.  Technology is changing so quickly that it’s a good idea to have a plan for quick payout of the drone (along with the cameras and sensors), along with software licenses and cloud-based storage so that you can plan to upgrade your equipment and maintain a high-quality product.

It is important to keep in mind that FAA regulations still involve a number of restrictions, and it is illegal to fly near airports, over stadiums, and in cities. There are also a number of privacy and security issues which must be considered when developing the flight plan and workflow.

You also need to have a good idea of the flight time for your drone. Which are the drones that have the longest flight time, and what payload can they carry? You must investigate this aspect very carefully. Here is a link to the longest flight time drone and others.

Photography and 3D Imaging

Real Estate:  Drone photography is used in many ways in real estate, including surveys, sales and in evaluation of projects.  In addition, drone photography is used in conducting inspections of the structures as well as the grounds.
Sales and Surveys
High-end residential
Commercial buildings, especially for planning renovations
Reconnaissance / Opportunities assessment, especially in rural or coastal areas
Acreage / ranches / development
Commercial buildings: façade, windows, roof

DJI Phantom 5:  Built-in camera, easy to get started.

Events:  Drones are often used at weddings, festivals, sporting events, but the usage must be carefully planned in order to avoid legal issues. First and foremost are safety and privacy issues.  It is important to obtain signed releases from the people who will be photographed.

Natural Disasters:  Drones are extremely useful in determining the scope and impact of a natural disaster, and can be extremely helpful in identifying impassible infrastructure. They are also used in search and rescue operations, and can help identify the direction of quickly moving wildfires. Drones used are often equipped with infrared / FLIR sensors as well as high-resolution cameras.

Inspections: Equipment / Operations:  In addition to real estate inspections, drones are being used to inspect inaccessible locations and ones requiring 3D visualization.
Insurance companies: Buildings, infrastructure
Solar panel inspections
Wind turbine inspections

Infrared / FLIR / Multispectral Sensors

In addition to high-resolution photography, using sensors that allow you to detect thermal variations can help you generate false color composites from which you can extract a great deal of very useful information. Here are some of the most popular uses. It is usually a good idea to combine multispectral images with photogrammetry. 

The FLIR Duo is a new product that combines thermal and visible light imaging and has been designed for drones.  FLIR is a leader in thermal imaging, both for professional and personal use. 

Watch video:

  • Agricultural: Precision agriculture; monitoring crop health and irrigation needs.
  • Security and Surveillance:  These sensors pick up heat sources, which include bodies – human, animal, or otherwise.
  • Environmental:  Determining coastal erosion, chemical spills, the depth of water bodies, and distressed vegetation.    
  • Herd Tracking (Commercial and Feral): Have a feral hog problem? Are deer eating your favorite bushes? Drones, combined with fixed surveillance cameras / sensors can help you identify the nature of your intruders.  
  • Leak detection in buildings: Thermal signatures are used to pinpoint leaks in roofs and other structures.
  • Hydrothermal resources / hot springs (and possible affiliated mineralization): Thermal anomalies are used in identifying geothermal resources and also places with possible mineralization due to the action of hot, mineral-saturated waters. 
  • Search and Rescue:  Heat signatures can help identify individuals needing to be rescued, especially at night. 
Fugitive Gas Emissions / Hyperspectral
Hyperspectral and multispectral sensors are being used to detect fugitive methane from operations and also natural gas seeps. The process is used for methane leak detection as well as identifying possible areas where oil and gas may be found in commercial quantities.

The Future
As the equipment and sensors improve, the cloud-based 3D imaging will also improve. The spoils are for the innovative, creative, and those who clearly identify the problems that are best solved by means of drones. Of course, drones will generate their own unintended issues -- but a problem is always another opportunity.

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