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Parrot has partnered with DroneLogbook, a flight logging service that provides secure data storage, which will result in the addition of enhanced flight data tracking to Parrot's ANAFI drone. With this enhanced flight data tracking, pilots will be able to keep track of their equipment’s performance, schedule necessary maintenance, and record and report all pertinent information to comply with FAA regulation. Using the aerial insights provided by Parrot’s ANAFI and ANAFI Thermal drones, professionals gain “new vantage points” to make informed decisions with higher precision and efficiency, Parrot notes. “Our partnership with DroneLogbook is positioned to significantly streamline the various processes and reports that are required from many of our enterprise ANAFI users maintaining large fleets— fulfilling a customer demand for a complete enterprise-grade flight logging solution,” says Jerome Bouvard, director of Strategic Partnership of Parrot. Accessible through online software and mobile apps, DroneLogbook’s software allows pilots to automatically record crucial flight data such as flight time, GPS and weather conditions. DroneLogbook tracks all UAS operations, which allows reports to be created in just seconds. A native integration in the Parrot flying app will allow ANAFI users to synchronize all their flight data automatically and seamlessly on DroneLogbook servers directly from the FreeFlight 6 application, as soon as the drone has landed. According to Parrot, the “one-stop-shop” platform is expected to “vastly improve” return on investment for commercial drone operators and reduce data processing time to help streamline necessary processes such as compliance reporting, mission planning and drone inspection. “This integration with Parrot provides the DroneLogbook ecosystem with another industry leading drone manufacturer to support commercial drone operations,” says Yves Jusot, CEO & co-founder. “The depth of this integration results in one of the easiest, most efficient compliance workflows in the industry, greatly improving ROI.”
3D Robotics (3DR) has announced that ground control points (GCPs) are now available to be processed in its Site Scan UAS data platform for engineering and construction. GCPs are “easily-identifiable markers on the ground of a jobsite that can be used to ‘georeference’ drone maps and models,” which makes it possible to not only increase the absolute accuracy of UAS data, but also creates superior deliverables such as orthomosaics, point clouds, and more. “Ground control points are a game-changer for Site Scan,” says Chris Swigert of Liberty Excavators. “Now, I can easily tag and process GCPs in the cloud, and deliver my clients more accurate drone maps and models than ever before.” 3DR says that “processing with GCPs in Site Scan offers industry-leading precision,” as customers can achieve horizontal accuracy of 0.25 inches and vertical accuracy down to 0.25 inches while using GCPs and flying at 100 feet with the Site Scan Sony R10C. As a part of this launch, 3DR has also introduced Lightning, which it calls the “fastest and easiest ground control point workflow on the market.” Thanks to Lightning’s “intuitive user experience,” Site Scan users can enter and tag GCPs five times faster than other workflows on the market. 3DR says that Lightning eliminates the hassle of having to rely on slow, inefficient GCP processes, as Lightning provides a simple way to create deliverables that Site Scan customers and their clients deem exceptional.
Industrial SkyWorks has launched BlueVu for digital inspections from drone-data. According to Industrial SkyWorks, BlueVu software eliminates the need for engineers and UAS pilots to examine thousands of images, while also providing clear, accurate, professional looking reports. Some of BlueVu’s other key capabilities include project management function support, efficient tracking and control of inspection workflows, and anomaly identification and measurement. “Today's drone inspections tools allow users to visually detect a problem, but BlueVu allows for a greater understanding of the asset problems by enabling the User to measure at inspection grade accuracy, directly within 2D photographs,” explains Industrial Skyworks' CEO Michael Cohen. “Now, knowing the location, size and severity of problems is possible!” Industrial SkyWorks says that the UAS inspection technology that it provides allows businesses throughout North America and the Caribbean Islands to review their UAS data and perform inspections from their desktops. This technology allows users to conduct UAS inspections safely and identify problems early, without spending a lot of time or money.
After obtaining its first approval to undertake commercial UAS operations in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Insitu Commercial Solutions—operating through Insitu Pacific Pty. Ltd.—recently conducted a series of aerial data collection operations in the country. Through this activity, which was a first for both Insitu Commercial Solutions and PNG, Insitu showcased its proficiency and competence in becoming the primary contracted UAS operator in PNG. “The approval in late 2018 was a direct result of our global history of safe, professional operations and close collaboration with the regulators in PNG,” says Andrew Duggan, vice president and managing director for Insitu Commercial Solutions. “Insitu Commercial has been working closely with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), PNG and other government regulatory bodies to demonstrate safe and effective integration of UAS into PNG airspace.” Over the course of several weeks, Insitu used visual line of sight (VLOS) UAS to conduct several remote sensing activities, as it supported earthquake remediation activities for clients in the remote and challenging highlands regions. High resolution and accurate datasets were collected using advanced UAS Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and Photogrammetric sensors. They were then processed to provide point cloud and imagery products. Insitu notes that by having reliable and precise information delivered in a timely manner, these products allow its clients to make informed business decisions faster than through conventional data collection means. “This achievement is a testament to the experience of our professional aviation staff in operating safely and effectively in some of the world’s more remote, rugged locations,” says Esina Alic, Insitu president and CEO. “This endorsement from CASA and PNG will not only mean Insitu is able to expand commercial service-based offerings throughout the Asia Pacific region, but it also will mean that PNG-based enterprise clients now can benefit from the remote sensing technologies that Insitu is providing to mining, oil and gas, environmental and government entities globally.”
Oneida Indian Nation partners with NUAIR to use UAS to monitor and protect land and environmental resources
In an effort to enhance its ability to monitor, observe, manage and protect its lands and environmental resources using UAS technology, the Oneida Indian Nation, which is an indigenous nation of American Indian people whose sacred and sovereign homelands are located in Central New York, has partnered with Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research (NUAIR). The Nation will leverage NUAIR’s UAS and related technologies, as well as its expertise, to gather and assess data about its lands and environmental resources, mainly from isolated or hard-to-reach areas. The Nation will also use this technology to further implement and enforce programs aimed at protecting these resources. “The Oneida Indian Nation is fundamentally committed to environmental protection,” says Oneida Indian Nation Representative and Enterprises CEO Ray Halbritter. “Our partnership with NUAIR on this exciting new project will enable the Nation to not only continue but enhance our stewardship of the environment, and to ensure its preservation now and for future generations.” The Nation will work with NUAIR’s aviation professionals to build the UAS program, specifically on strategic planning, evaluation and continued monitoring. NUAIR’s aviation professionals will also provide their expertise in the training and certification of Nation staff to independently operate the UAS. “Going from a pickup truck surveying the land from the ground, to being able to deploy a drone and get a more complete aerial view of their land will significantly assist the Oneida Indian Nation’s environmental conservation efforts,” says Mike Hertzendorf, CEO of NUAIR. “NUAIR, in collaboration with AX Enterprize, Measure and SkyOp, will assist the Nation in developing procedures for safe and effective flights, on-site flight training, Part 107 pilot training, product purchase advisement and more over the next four years.” According to the Nation, this partnership is a result of a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Indian Environmental General Assistance Program, which the Nation secured last year as a four-year capacity-building project.
DJI has announced a new strategic partnership with fire service vehicles and firefighting equipment manufacturer Rosenbauer International AG. Through their collaboration, the companies will provide anyone involved in being called to address an emergency situation with the benefits of digital emergency response management, through the combination of an aerial perspective with Rosenbauer's operation management system. The combination will enable the quick assessment of situations, and for informed decisions to be made regarding the safest and most efficient deployment of personnel. “DJI is proud to bring its drone technology to support Rosenbauer’s excellence in fire apparatus manufacturing and its vision of empowering firefighters with the best possible tools for emergency response and disaster relief,” says Roger Luo, President, DJI. “This integration is an important step for this long-term partnership, and our commitment demonstrates an increasing maturity in the adoption of drones for firefighting professionals.” The information management system for firefighting operations, Rosenbauer's operation management system supports emergency crews on site with relevant information such as fire safety maps, hazardous material data or vehicle rescue sheets. Data from FlightHub, which is DJI’s drone fleet management software, will be integrated into Rosenbauer's operation management system, providing the decision maker of the operation with additional visual and thermal data. To provide a full overview of the situation, this information can then be relayed to operational units at the scene on a tablet or displayed on monitors back at the command center, allowing for informed decisions to be made in real time regarding the efficient and safe deployment of resources such as personnel, vehicles and other equipment. A server in the highly secure computer center of a well-known European telecommunication firm will be used to store all information that is delivered to the Rosenbauer operation management system in real-time, as well as from DJI's FlightHub. The data traffic is secured and encrypted. Data is also synced with all mobile end devices during the deployment, so that every operational team has the same information, and it is kept in a closed loop. “Speed and a truly complete overall picture are key criteria for success when emergency service teams have to make purposeful decisions under time pressure. We have already supported their efforts to meet these criteria with our IT solutions, which range from efficient vehicle management to navigation, right through to alarm applications,” explains Dieter Siegel, CEO of Rosenbauer International. “This cooperation with DJI enables us to consolidate our role as a digital pioneer while we work together to develop an integrated technology for comprehensive, data-based firefighting and disaster management.”
After being charged with the task of conducting the most comprehensive UAS-based inspections in the industry by Norfolk Southern back in early 2016, Virginia Beach-based Hazon Solutions has announced that it has inspected more than 100,000 linear feet of railway bridges. Over the last year and a half, Hazon has conducted more than 64 complete bridge inspections across the eastern United States, which has left CEO and co-founder David A. Culler, Jr. CAPT USN (ret) extremely pleased. “We're very proud to announce this remarkable milestone,” Culler says. “The experience and expertise that HAZON has gained on the UAS inspection front have been invaluable; it has allowed us to move beyond proof-of-concept and into the transition period of integrating drones into the daily workflow. It's a very exciting time for the entire drone ecosystem and the customers we serve.” During Hazon’s inspections, the company uses high definition (HD) still frame, video and thermal imaging cameras to provide complete coverage of an entire bridge. In an effort to capture the highest quality pictures possible, Hazon’s inspection teams fly within 15 feet of the rail bridges, and they also use proprietary techniques to fly under and inside bridge spans, so that they can collect imagery from angles that were unavailable before. COO and co-founder Sean Cushing, CDR USN (ret), says that the company’s inspections are truly comprehensive. “We're not just getting exterior shots, we're flying underneath and inside the voids of bridges to make sure critical load bearing areas are covered from every possible angle,” Cushing says. “We also capture shots of every single bottom lateral and gusset plate; best of all, we don't consume any track time. We collect actionable information and trains keep moving.” Outside of bridge inspections, Hazon also inspects power transmission lines in the energy sector as well.
Intel and Cyberhawk have announced that they successfully inspected a gas terminal in St Fergus, Scotland using an Intel Falcon 8+ UAS. The companies say that traditional inspections of this scale require facility shutdowns, which could take days to weeks to bring the plant offline and make accessible for workers. Once these plants are offline, the workers rely on harnesses and cable equipment to hang midair while manually collecting information on a structure, which can be both dangerous and time consuming. Using UAS for this inspection, though, took workers out of harm’s way, and increased speed and accuracy in comparison to conventional methods of inspection. It was also financially beneficial to use UAS, as this technology saved $1 million to $5 million per day in potential production loss during the mission. “The way we conduct inspections is changing,” says Anil Nanduri, vice president and general manager within Intel’s New Technology Group. “Drones make inspection workflows faster, cheaper and safer. The technology is mature enough to be adopted into the workflows of our customers.” During this inspection, the Falcon 8+ UAS captured 1,100 images, translating to 12GB of data, over the course of one to two days. Typically, the collection of this amount of data would have taken a three-man team three days to achieve. The analytics collected during this inspection can be used for asset maintenance, specifically for such things like pre-maintenance inspection, repair work, and resource planning, to name a few. UAS are especially useful for the oil and gas industry. Intel says that its Falcon 8+ UAS is helpful because it delivers “reliable performance and best-in-class safety, especially critical when faced with challenging environments or dangerous situations.” “Flying in Scotland, the devices have to withstand strong winds,” says Chris Fleming, Cyberhawk CEO. “The Intel Falcon is perfect for that because it has the highest wind tolerance and the best power-to-weight ratio of any platform on the market.” Fleming adds that UAS have had an impact in the inspection industry unlike anything else he's seen in the last two decades. “In the last 20 years that I’ve worked in the inspection industry, drones are the biggest single change we’ve seen to-date,” Fleming says.
SenseFly recently announced the launch of its eBee X fixed-wing drone, which allows operators to map without limits, the company says. Part of the Parrot Business Solutions portfolio, the eBee X is designed to boost the quality, efficiency and safety of an operator’s geospatial data collection, as it offers a camera for every job, as well as the accuracy and coverage capabilities to meet the requirements of even the most demanding projects, and the durability to work virtually every site. “The eBee X is a giant leap forward for mapping technology and underscores senseFly’s position as the leader in the fixed-wing drone market,” says Gilles Labossière, the Executive Vice President and COO of Parrot Group, and senseFly CEO. “No matter what type of project a professional is undertaking, the eBee X has the coverage, data and accuracy capabilities needed to get the job done.” The eBee X includes a wide variety of new camera options—the senseFly S.O.D.A. 3D, the senseFly Aeria X and the senseFly Duet T—to suit every mapping job, including but not limited to, land surveying, topographic mapping and urban planning. The UAS is also compatible with the Parrot Sequoia+ multispectral camera for agriculture, the senseFly S.O.D.A. UAS photogrammetry camera and senseFly Corridor for simple linear mapping. Capable of meeting the “exacting requirements” of every project, the eBee X has an “Endurance Extension” option that increases its default maximum endurance of 59 minutes to a maximum flight time of up to 90 minutes. This capability allows the UAS to achieve a large single-flight coverage of up to 500 ha (1,235 ac) at 122 m (400 ft), while the eBee X’s built-in High-Precision on Demand (RTK/PPK) function helps operators to achieve absolute accuracy of down to 3 cm (1.2 in)—without ground control points. With the eBee X, users can work virtually every site, regardless of how demanding a site might be, thanks to its built-in Steep Landing technology, ultra-robust design, live air traffic data and more; all of which are backed by senseFly’s professional, localized support. SenseFly says that the eBee X is ideally suited to the “varied and evolving needs” of mapping professionals, including surveying and construction companies, quarry and mine operators, and agronomists and forestry engineers. The eBee X is supplied with senseFly’s eMotion flight planning and data management software, and senseFly says that Pix4D is available for purchase immediately from authorized senseFly distributors.