May 11 2018 – 12:30AM
Data drives industry’s rise
CUTTING EDGE: Australia has led the world when it comes to drones, introducing commercial drone regulation back in 2002, compared to the US which took until 2016 to catch up.
OVER the past few years drones have matured from a novel new technology, and are now undertaking serious work solving real problems and assisting companies, government agencies and the broader economy on an ever-increasing scale.
On a daily basis throughout Australia drones are now surveying large areas for uses such as mining, coastal monitoring, environmental management, renewable energy and transport design. They are inspecting tall, inaccessible or large-scale assets and infrastructure such as mobile towers, bridges, roofs, power lines and pipelines, reducing costs and improving safety by avoiding the need for people to be working at heights or in close proximity to danger.
“Companies and government agencies at all levels are recognising drones as a vital source of cost-effective and accurate data, enabling digital transformation,” says Andrew Chapman, Australian UAV Director of Operations in NSW, said.
“The point many people miss is that it isn’t about the drones themselves, but the data which you can capture and process into maps, reports, 3D models and other outputs.
“Our clients are gaining efficiencies from more accurate analysis, design and decision-making by experts in the office rather than sending multiple teams out in the field. The size and scope of the projects and contracts is doubling year on year. “Australian UAV (AUAV) Australian UAV is one of the country’s leading providers of drone data capture, analysis and reporting with a national service coverage and a broad range of capabilities utilising this exciting new technology.
“We have qualified surveyors, inspectors, civil engineers, draftsmen and others on staff who understand the needs of our client industries and how to provide drone-based data to solve their problems, whether that is accurate aerial survey for engineering projects, new subdivisions or mine sites, inspections for roofs, conveyors, bridges, or more niche areas like gas sensing and water sampling,” Andrew said.
With over 300 commercial and government clients spread across every state in Australia and also increasingly overseas, AUAV was recently ranked 18th on the Drone Industry Insights’ list of Top 20 drone services globally and has won awards recognising their innovative business.
Operating on the cutting edge of a new technology presents many challenges to keep ahead, but in turn is incredibly satisfying, James Rennie, AUAV Director of Operations for Victoria, said.
“I think what I most enjoy is the diversity of experience. In any given week you might be inspecting roofs for council buildings, surveying a mine pit, inspecting a power station chimney, and then assessing line of sight between mobile towers 20km apart.
“To give the best service we dive deep and learn as much as we can about our clients’ businesses and challenges. That way we can propose solutions to some of their pain points with current technology but also be working away on a longer-term plan for solving their larger problems with custom solutions or emerging tech.”
Drone technology is evolving rapidly, and the next big steps revolve around machine vision and AI, allowing drones to think for themselves. Regulatory changes will be required to let drones off the leash and battery technology will need to advance, but given the speed of development in recent years, both Andrew and James believe it is definitely more a matter of “when”, not “if”.
For more information, call 1300 738 521, email [email protected] or visit www.auav.com.au.