Month: January 2016

The History of Drones and How They Came Into Every Day Use

tegLike any other great invention, drones have been around for many years, although they were not available for general public and were not as easy to fly as they are today. The modern drones are now controlled with the help software applications and are capable of sending back real-time imagery in high resolution along with flight parameters and status to analyze the data for various useful purposes. These machines are now officially known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and they are found in many types and sizes depending on the functionality they offer and their purpose.

Why Build Drones?

The development of modern drones has remained a practice throughout the world and even in developing countries because these machines have unlimited uses. They allow you to remove pilots from areas of danger. Since the machines do not house a pilot, there is no need for a cockpit and other accessories that a pilot requires in order to fly an aircraft. This cuts significantly on the costs required to build an aircraft.

Cost is a major consideration when it comes to building aircraft and other defense equipment and machines as there is usually not enough budget to fulfill all requirements. Military drones are being used for a number of purposes, most importantly intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). Modern drones fulfill these requirements to a great extent as timely and accurate information acquisition is very important for the success of all military projects. The machines are able to provide continuous surveillance and a complete and accurate picture of enemy resources in order to plan a successful combat.

Drones have also been used extensively for weather research and monitoring. There is a need to inform the concerned authorities especially the Navy in case of a dangerous weather. If there is a failure to forecast a bad weather, it results in great loss of transport, cargo, and precious human lives.

Brief History of Drones

Today’s cruise missiles have a very well-known precursor known as the aerial or naval torpedo. However, this type of weapon was supposed to be dropped into water in order to reach its target and therefore was associated with the navy. These were first introduced in World War I and were still popular during World War II. These devices and other aircraft used by the military personnel without a pilot on board were later termed unmanned aerial vehicles. This term became popular in the early 1990’s when robotic aircraft were developed to carry out various operations. Drones were defined as;

Vehicles powered by batteries that take off the ground using aerodynamic forces and fly in the air autonomously or through a remote controller or transmitter and can also carry a payload are known as unmanned aerial vehicles.

Aircraft such as cruise missiles and ballistic vehicles do not come under this category. Also, unpowered vehicles, such as gliders are not included in this list. Aerial vehicles used for combat missions without a pilot are now more commonly known as “drones”.

In 1920’s, pilotless aircraft were tested by the Army and these were called “Bugs”. These machines were controlled by electrical and vacuum-pneumatic controls. After some time, the aircraft automatically turned itself off and would fall to the ground. It was a very heavy vehicle – weighing up to 80 kg and wherever it fell, it was considered an enemy target. Today’s guided missiles can be traced back to this forerunner that was discontinued around the end of 1920’s. A couple of decades later anti-aircraft target practice came into being and for this pilotless planes were used. Much later, USA started using drones that were not very technically advanced for the purpose of electronic intelligence gathering, reconnaissance, and surveillance. However, since data transfer was not as fast as it is today, the filming for intelligence gathering wasn’t of much use. By the time it reached the concerned authorities, it was too late. Another aircraft was developed in the 1950s that was powered by a jet and used rocket assistance for launch. This drone was used to carry out pre-programmed missions as well as reconnaissance and autonomous flights. This was probably the best match of today’s lightweight, powerful drones and has provided many of its useful features to its successors. Other machines were also developed and tested, but they didn’t become popular or successful.

Aircraft versus Aerial Vehicles

There is a need to differentiate between the terms aircraft and aerial vehicles. Aircraft encompass all airborne flying machines governed by some sort of government regulations and if they are operated by pilots these personnel need to be licensed. However, the term unmanned aerial vehicle refers to a machine that can be used even by a layman and requires no regulated training or license of any sort. Since the FAA is chartered to regulate aircraft, it coined the term remotely operated aircraft or ROA that defined all aerial vehicles remotely controlled by a user that didn’t need to be a certified pilot to fly these machines.

The modern aerial vehicles are successors of those machines that were developed in the 1970s by Israel. These flying machines were meant for battlefield data collection and were responsible for sending back real-time data for analysis. Other similar projects were developed for a number of different purposes including;

· Naval gunfire spotting

· Adjusting artillery fire

· Surveillance

· Target acquisition

Countries other than the USA and Israel that are working on the development of modern more sophisticated drones and aerial vehicles include China, Japan, Russia, Italy, France, Germany, and Great Britain.

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How UAV Inspection Services Simplify Inspections and Save Time

ujDrones are playing a greater role in inspection services these days. With recent technological breakthroughs, such as special cameras to detect leaks and structural damage, drones are becoming the go to source for inspection services that may include danger or accessing hard to reach areas.

The importance of aerial inspections can’t be underestimated, since many lives depend on the precision of these inspections. Inspections carried out by manually put the entire emphasis on the inspector and therefore, the inspector has to take into account the danger to himself/herself, take into account that each inspection has to be precise and take into account that the inspection may need to be done as quickly as possible. The entire process at the end of the day remains dangerous, takes time and there is still no assuredness about the quality of the inspection. There are a number of fields where drones are being used to carry out inspections with greater security and precision and in lesser time.

The fields where drones are actively carrying out inspections include

· Electricity: the electric lines that are running all through the country need to be inspected continuously from time to time to prevent any impending fault. In case of natural disasters, the lines may get interrupted. In such situations, inspecting the lines and finding the areas where the problem has occurred becomes close to impossible for any human being. However, with UAVs, this job becomes simple. The use of UAV for inspection of regular faults in the line is also becoming more common as companies now consider drones a better option than risking the lives of the workers who can fall off the heights or who may come in direct contact with live circuits.

· Gas and oil: the extent to which drones are now carrying out inspections of the oil and gas pipe lines is great. Their use has not only made it safe for the workers but has also reduced the time and cost of inspection. The officials can now be sent directly to the place where the fault has been found saving a lot of time and money.

· Construction: when the construction site is extensive, drones are being used to carry out inspections. This is a great way to cut back on time that it normally took to monitor the construction site manually.

· Agriculture: Drones are being used to inspect wineries for the ripening of the grapes or for observing any change in fruits due to any pest or other infections. This helps the farmers to reap a better harvest at the right time and sell products at a better price.

There are many other fields where drones have the potential to carry out inspections such as solar installations, cooling towers, forestry, wind turbines, bridges, train lines, monuments, radiation monitoring and measurements etc. These are the areas that require people to endanger their lives to find minor faults in the systems and this can be avoided entirely by the use of UAV inspection services.

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The Growth of UAVs and the Risks It Poses to the Public

wafUAVs are being used for a number of civilian and commercial purposes, from photography and videography, survey and mapping, inspections, transport to network swarming where they work together to complete a task. This article discusses some of UAV’s current commercial applications and the risk that the growth of UAVs poses on the public.

Agriculture and Wildlife

UAVs can be used to monitor many aspects of agriculture. Apart from offering an aerial inspection of the crops, they can help in inspecting soil erosion and other parameters that are hard to observe from the ground. Japanese were the first people to have used this technology for agricultural purposes. There are many types of UAVs that are being used in the agriculture sector nowadays. In addition to agriculture, they can prove to be quite helpful in forestry too. They can take photos of the forests as well as the wildlife present in them to keep a steady count of the animals living in there. Moreover, they can be used to assist in putting out forest fires that may erupt from time to time.

Earth Sciences

Although various satellites are being used for studying different aspects of earth there is still need for aerial inspections to completely understand weather phenomena. The use of UAVs in this field can help in this regard and make it a lot easier for scientists to predict climate and weather changes more accurately.

Security and Law Enforcement

The borders as well as internal security can be very well taken care of with UAV technology. They can also play a crucial role in law enforcement too. They can be used for assisting the police in catching criminals and collecting evidence, search and rescues, surveillance and more.

Commercial Sector

UAVs may replace manned vehicles in the commercial field as some services have little need for human involvement, including transporting commodities from one place to another with ease.

Despite all of the promise that UAVs have shown, the commercial use of these aerial vehicles is still in its initial developmental phase. You may not see transport activities being carried out with the help of UAVs in the near future because of the risks they pose.

Safety Risks Related to UAV Transport

It is the duty of the national airspace authority to make sure that the airspace remains safe. However, UAV transport poses a great threat to airspace safety as it is extremely hard to control the drone’s flight pattern especially when it is flying into an area where various airplanes carrying passengers and goods are present. The following are some of the safety risks that may arise because of UAV transportation.

Air Collisions

The risks of air collisions increase when an airborne vehicle is not operated by a sensible and trained pilot. So, when we are talking about a UAV which isn’t controlled by any pilot, the chances of a collision happening in the air multiply greatly. While the pilot of a manned aircraft can detect the presence of vehicles flying in their vicinity and take evasive action quickly, a drone cannot make that call unless it is directed to do so from the ground. Thus, UAVs are more likely to get involved in an air collision than piloted aircraft. Unless this safety issue is resolved, the future of UAV transport looks questionable.

Ground Collisions

It is not only the collision of the UAV with other aircraft in the air that may cause great damage. They can collide with objects on the ground too, causing damage to both people and their properties. There is always a possibility of the UAV going berserk due to loss of signal from the operator or some technical fault in the system. This will pose a risk of the UAV falling from the air and crashing in a populated area. This may lead to the debris entering the houses or people getting killed as a result of the direct impact. This, however will depend on various factors such as,

· The population size

· The size of the debris

· The reliability of the vehicle

· History of failure of the device

System Reliability

When it comes to relying on the devices and gadgets solely based on technology there is always an apprehension because of the history of failures that one has seen through the years. UAVs controlled from the ground that are operated using human intelligence can be manipulated as the on-ground pilot take decisions based on the situation. However, such systems too have been seen to crash and become the major cause of loss of lives during transport. The most common reason for accidents of this sort has been failure of various parts and machinery of the aircraft. So, when it comes to leaving decision making to machines that only operate as per pre-fed instructions, the risk of accidents increases many folds. It will take a lot of research and analysis to produce a system that is reliable in future. However, as of now the use of UAVs is still under observation and it will take many more years for them to share the airspace with manned aircraft.

Insurance Issues

Getting insurance is also an important issue as people find it extremely hard to get their UAVs insured. The main problem cited by many insurance providers is the susceptibility of the system to failure. In addition to this, the safety issues related to the UAVs is another concern why insurance companies are reluctant to insure these aerial vehicles.

Privacy and Security Issues

Privacy is a major concern associated with drone use as no one wants UAVs peeping into their homes while flying past them. Moreover, the UAVs themselves are not very safe and can be hacked any time. If a drone is hacked by terrorists then they can use it for their ulterior motives, risking the life of millions.

So, because of all of these issues and concerns, governments all over the world are reluctant to go forward with UAV transport for now.

UAVLANCE.com, the one stop shop for all your UAV needs.

LOOKING FOR A DRONE PILOT?

Simply create a job and watch as the top pilots in the country bid for your work. And payments are held in escrow, so pilots get paid on time, and you don’t release payment until you’re 100% satisfied!

There is no job too big or complex. There are pilots on UAVLance qualified for EVERY aerial need.