As we close in on the New Year, we can expect to hear a dull hum as thousands of gifted drones take to the air after the Christmas boom. But that’s not the only reason they’re taking to the air across Aussie skies.
Previously, this technology was almost the exclusive domain of the military, but now drones have become extremely mainstream in Australia. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is followed by 51,000 people across its social media accounts, and their videos on drones have been viewed over 1.2 million times. This growth is now spreading to other industries, including into the field of roof inspections.
Exploring commercial uses
Drones have become a recreational plaything for thousands of people across Australia, but they have also been taken up by many industries for commercial purposes as well.
For utility network owners, drones have become a handy tool for the management of assets. These assets are spread across the country and can be hard to access depending on factors like terrain and the weather – creating challenges for utility network owners in sending people out to inspect and maintain these assets.
This is where unmanned drones have entered the equation, providing a flying device that can glide past hazards that humans can not. And by combining these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with existing utility inspection tools, assets can easily be assessed and maintained.
The in-depth features of drone thermal cameras
Besides their ability to fly into areas humans may not be able to tread easily, the other significant benefit of UAVs is on-board imagery technology that allows for asset inspection. This goes beyond basic camera devices fitted to residential drones, with a raft of technology available to provide crystal clear imagery in all instances. Stability devices like gimbals and gyroscopes mean footage remains steady and high-grade HD cameras with digital zoom functions and geo-referenced images can be installed into the UAVs.
There are presently 1,106 drone operator certificate holders registered with CASA, but this has been a sticking point for some utility owners in working with UAVs because of the complex registration process. These operators certificates can take up to 15 months to earn and cost up to $30,000. Selecting a device can be a complicated process for utility owners with no idea on what the different specs mean and with new technology emerging every day. The way around this is to partner with an accredited service provider that can provide you with drone roof inspections and asset maintenance, without the fuss. These providers already have the technology and the licences and are ready to take to the sky. Outsourcing will save you plenty of time, money and headaches in the future.
While these CASA regulations may sound drawn-out, they are world leaders in regulation and this is leading to better outcomes for industries like utilities. For example, CASA is currently working on regulations for 'Beyond Visual Line of Sight' technologies. This would further benefit utilities inspection and maintenance with UAVs able to inspect assets the human eye can't even see.
This technology and new, pioneering functions like it could be unveiled in Australia first, making UAVs an exciting technology for all industries – a growth that drone asset inspection professionals like us are keen to welcome.