The term ‘advanced drone operations’ may not yet be widely used, but these operations have the potential to bring real, significant commercial value to a wide range of sectors – from agriculture and construction to mining and energy.
With unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) becoming increasingly accessible for today’s commercial operators, there is an opportunity to integrate advanced operations into expanded project workflows, to accurately map more areas and gather the data and insights needed to make even better-informed decisions.
But what are advanced drone operations, and what makes them different from standard drone operations?
The term encompasses a wide range of flights, including Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS), Operations Over People (OOP), fleets, flying at night and flying in restricted airspace.
Due to their more advanced nature, these operations often require additional preflight planning and permissions from the relevant authorities to address any safety or logistical considerations.
Operators are also usually asked to provide detailed flight plans and complete waiver submissions, which are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, depending on the country.
Unlocking the potential
Commercial companies can reap the rewards of expanding their current drone operations to include more advanced flights. There is a lot to be gained; here are three main benefits of advanced drone operations you should know:
1. Saving Valuable Time
Flying BVLOS has been gaining momentum in recent years, as users look to map larger areas quickly and efficiently to expand their project functionality. For sectors like agriculture, mining, or construction, where sites can be expansive, remote and/or complex, flying BVLOS can allow operators to collect data more easily and safely too – without getting close to hazards. Importantly, it avoids the repeated travel, set-up and positioning to ensure the drone is always within the pilot’s line of sight, which saves valuable time.
2. Opening Mapping’s Full Potential
With advanced drone operations, like flying OOP, commercial companies can cover larger distances or previously prohibited areas, enabling more data to be collected in a shorter amount of time. This is crucial for operators looking to cover urban areas, or in applications such as mines where uninvolved people are likely to be on-site. Gaining OOP approval is also essential to fly BVLOS; once OOP and BVLOS flight approval has been obtained, UAVs can typically be flown everywhere apart from city centers – creating further commercial opportunities.
3. Streamlining Resources
Flying drone fleets can be extremely valuable – not only to save time but to also offer the traditional benefits of drones on a much bigger scale. Currently, drones must be flown separately or with multiple pilots, but as the use of UAV fleets and BVLOS becomes more widespread, companies can significantly scale their mission capabilities. For example, instead of taking five flights using traditional Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) methods, operators could use one. By streamlining resources, advanced drone operations can help to save costs and ensure operations are more practical.
There is an exciting opportunity to build on the growing success of drones in commercial settings, by implementing more advanced operations. Not only could they help provide a higher return on investment, but drones can also help companies become more competitive, thanks to the greater level of data and insights these operations provide.
Want to find out more about incorporating advanced drone operations into your workflow?
Download Advanced Drone Operations: Unlocking the Technology’s Full Potential for everything you need to know.
Also, look out for our next blog post on how to navigate the complex regulatory landscape of advanced drone operations – coming soon.