IoT-powered drones have helped several organizations to minimize cost and maximize operational efficiency. With new use cases springing up, the Internet of Things continues to pervade a wide of range of sectors in the global economy.
A 2019 McKinsey report stated that digital transformation had lowered the cost of field operations and enhanced the productivity of field operations. Major technology levers were machine learning, artificial intelligence and intelligent and prescriptive action boards.
Although, a number of the technological improvements in these field operations are earth bound applications such as predictive manufacturing, field-based asset management, logistics optimization and smart city monitoring: IoT enabled drones which are air bound are increasingly being adopted.
The following are some sectors leveraging IoT-Enabled Drones:
Construction. This industry has been plagued for years with exuberant costs and an inability to efficiently track progress. There have been issues with effectively managing equipment and projects simultaneously at geographically separated sites. Drone flights are now able to record material supply quantities and report on the progress of site work.
Mining and Gas: Drones have become useful for mining and gas exploration as they are able to map regions that are difficult to access in person due to rugged topographies and exposure to hazards.
Health care. Drones are now being used to retrieve and deliver medical supplies to remote regions where people live in isolation.
From these use cases, the merits of IoT-enabled drones revolve around increasing operational efficiency and reducing costs.
IoT Impact on Drone Technology
Drones are useful in field operations majorly because of the IoT-generated data they can transmit.
The exterior of a drone is made using lightweight materials that make flight easier while reducing sound and vibration. a navigational system with IoT sensors is fitted on drone’s nose while the rest of drone is fitted with IoT technology required for a successful drone mission.
For example, A drone mission to assess how deep a body of water is will have crews using echo sounders to send sonar sound waves into the water and then analyze depth parameters with reference to data bounced back from waves.
In some cases, lowering an echo sounder into the water for analysis is not feasible. As an alternative, an echo sounder can be attached to a drone and measure sound waves that translate to water depth while airborne. This is done using both IoT technologies and the echo sounder’s capability.
Next Step for IoT-Enabled Drones
The utilization of IoT-Enabled Drones possesses great potential but is also limited regulations.
The U.S., Congress and the Federal Aviation Administration have assessed effect of commercial drone technology on the public and have set clear-cut guidelines. These guidelines state that to avoid aircraft interference, drone flight altitude must not exceed 400ft of altitude. Drone pilots must also be licensed to fly and must maintain visuals with the drones in flight.
Batteries remain a major challenge in drones. average flight time for a drone is half an hour and can be shorter if the drone faces a headwind. This limitation requires organizations to properly plan drone missions.
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Olamide is a technology consultant with cognate experience providing digital transformation services for small and large-scale clients globally. With a focus on emerging technologies like IoT, Extended Reality, Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence, he has spent three years developing numerous articles on these knowledge areas for different platforms online and offline.
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