As the Aeryon HDZoom30 imaging payload makes its way into the hands of operators worldwide, we are thrilled to share real-world imagery acquired in extraordinarily demanding conditions. Here we see the results of close inspection of remote elements of a national electrical transmission grid: exploiting the full 60x zoom capabilities of the Aeryon HDZoom30 to ensure a safe separation between the Aeryon SkyRanger and the target, without compromising the (remarkable!) quality of the images.
Q: Is that the K68 bolt?
A: Yes, in fact it is. And that bolt is over 100 feet in the air, halfway up the side of a mountain over 3000 feet above sea level, and 2000 feet away from the operator. If you’re interested, the text is less than an inch high, and there are 4 exposed threads on that bolt. Whether you’re analyzing structural integrity, planning preventative maintenance, or assessing damage to critical components, you won’t get a closer or clearer image without putting personnel at risk. And, with a Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) UAV, such as Aeryon SkyRanger, you can achieve vantage points not even possible by a technician climbing a tower.
Aeryon Labs had a great year in 2014, as did the VTOL sUAS industry. Business has doubled from a year ago, and the outlook is for further strengthening. As we look into 2015, the sUAS industry is well situated to continue growing and evolving at a remarkable pace. That means it is time for a few 2015 predictions for the consumer, prosumer and professional market tiers:
This article discusses the value of aerial imagery, the breadth of applications that can benefit from using small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) technology, the advantages and some of the challenges encountered when capturing aerial imagery with a sUAS.
The following is an excerpt from the article:
The Value of Perspective
The point of having flying robots, aka small unmanned aircraft systems (sUASs), is as much about imaging as about flying. Amazon Prime Air may someday deliver instant shopping gratification from the skies, but for the near future the most valuable payload a tiny flying robot can carry is usually an image sensor, followed closely by a transmitter to beam images back to the ground for a remote view.
This should be no surprise—the insights we gain from high-level perspectives are profound and incredibly valuable. Whether from trees, hills, towers, or eventually balloons and aircraft, we have always sought higher vantage points. The urge to acquire them is fundamental, built into our bodies (better visibility is one theory for bipedalism) as well as our languages—think of words like “overview,” “supervise,” “surveillance,” and “understanding the big picture.” Poets have written about the gift of “see[ing] ourselves as others see us.” Perhaps the ultimate “perspective photo” is the one astronauts get looking back at earth; those lucky enough to experience it firsthand frequently describe it as life-changing. In some cases aerial views can also be life-saving…or at least day-making.
As the technology continues to become more affordable and accessible, more companies are realizing the benefits of using unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to help manage and maintain renewable resources. Forestry is just one industry where researchers, service providers, and land and business owners are determining the applications and circumstances that are best suited for UAS operations.
The goal for these early adopters (of UAS technology) is to achieve the same level of accuracy as with traditional methods of collecting the imagery and data while reducing operating costs, minimizing risk and safety concerns, and improving the overall quality of the information that is gathered.
The applications with the highest potential gains are where a manned aircraft is used to gather data on small to medium areas of land. Typically, several repetitive flights are required for periodic measurements that tend to be tedious, potentially unsafe and expensive. Similarly, using traditional ground survey techniques, ground crews are required to walk across potentially hazardous terrain and they rely on daylight hours and good weather to capture the data effectively. The cost of the overall project can, therefore, increase with the unpredictable nature of the working environment. Forestry professionals are starting to benefit from surveys and other tasks performed by UAS in the following areas:
Security applications often take place in a confined environment and involve monitoring specific areas of interest - the same is true for uses like forensics and accident reconstruction. While applications, like Search and Rescue, involve looking for very specific targets of interest within a very large area. The ability to use sUAS in all of these examples is extremely beneficial to any public safety organization.