Not all UAVs and so not all UAV operators are the same
The variation and range of UAV platforms and accompanying imaging equipment continues to expand on a daily basis. UAVs come in all shapes and configurations, ranging from a matter of a few hundred grams in mass, right the way up to 20kg in some cases. So the right equipment for the job is also consequently going to vary. Where safety is an issue there are again many factors which can enhance the safety of a UAV platform.
So if for example if you are surveying high value assets such as solar panels or wind turbines then some of the important questions you might ask are:
Shrouded props – are the propellers on the UAV covered to negate the risk of damage when doing close inspections?
Proximity detection – does the platform use proximity warning systems to alert the pilot of distances to nearby objects?
Wind tolerance – is the platform likely to get blown around a lot in strong winds?
Fail-safes – Does the platform have fail safes such as return to home and/ or parachute systems?
So what else can help safety? If your operator turns up with the incorrect equipment for the job, they are putting your/your client’s assets at serious risk. You should always ensure your operator has the equipment and technical background to safely carry out the job.
It is worth bearing in mind that the technology in the UAV industry is changing and advancing fast and you should look for an operator that is leading the way. For example, Remote Aerial Surveys has been developing its own pilot proximity warning system. The system uses state of the art laser scanning and ultrasonic sensors in order to improve the pilot’s situational awareness when inspecting objects up close. The technology gives additional visual cues to the pilot to alert them of objects coming in close proximity to the UAV so they can take avoiding action.
An experienced and reputable operator will always safely use a UAV or drone to survey what are essentially high value assets e.g. wind turbines, solar panels or hydro-electric power stations. If you appoint the right operator with the right equipment undoubtedly UAVs offer many additional benefits over manual surveys.