Industry Drone Case Studies and Lessons Learned

The integration of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) across diverse sectors marks a significant leap in how industries tackle challenges, enhance efficiency, and achieve goals that were once considered unattainable. This guide delves into four pivotal case studies across agriculture, emergence response/disaster Relief, infrastructure inspection, public safety, and the energy sector, showcasing the transformative power of UAV technology.

Each case study is meticulously analyzed through the lens of setup, mission, results, and lessons learned, offering a comprehensive view of the strategic deployment of UAVs. From precision farming to critical infrastructure inspection, these examples not only highlight the versatility and capability of UAVs but also underscore the importance of a well-thought-out

Table of content

Case Study 1


Case Study 2

A Case Study in the Jinsha River Region

Case Study 3

Case Study 4

Case Study 5

Bonus

Infrastructure Inspection

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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or UAVs, have revolutionized the way industries approach tasks such as...

Pest and Weed Management - Moldovan

(Effectiveness Of Using Drone Spraying))

Case Study 1

Drones have become an essential tool for precision farming. With their ability to efficiently and ecologically manage pests, weeds, and monitor crops, drones are revolutionizing the way farmers approach their agricultural practices. In case study 1, we will explore a case study of DRON Assistance, a company supported by UNDP Moldova and the European Union, providing intelligent services to Moldovan farmers through the use of agricultural drones.

Drone Technology

The drone technology used in this case study is agricultural drones equipped with intelligent services for precision farming, provided by DRON Assistance. These drones are used for pest and weed management, mapping, and monitoring of agricultural lands in Moldova.

How it was arranged & prepared

In the village of Onitcani, the experimental didactic station “Criuleni” tested the effectiveness of using drones for herbicide spraying on a wheat field of 73 hectares. Half of the field was treated with a drone, while the other half was treated with a traditional sprinkler and tractor. The drones, flying 2-4 meters above the crop, were able to spray up to 40% less herbicide with more accuracy and uniformity than traditional methods.

What was the objective of the operation?

The mission of the experiment was to compare the effectiveness of drone spraying with conventional methods in terms of pest and weed management. The goal was to increase the profitability of crops while minimizing waste and environmental impact.

This is what was achieved

The drone, skillfully handled by a specialist from DRON Assistance, sprayed the field in just four hours, proving to be a faster and more efficient method of herbicide application. By using drones, farmers can save up to 1500 tons of pesticides annually and between 100-150 euros per hectare through more effective spraying. Additionally, by avoiding the use of tractors that can damage up to 10% of crops and burn fossil fuels, drones are a more eco-friendly option for precision farming.

And lessons learned?

Through this case study, farmers learned that drones are not only a more efficient and accurate method of pest and weed management but also a more sustainable and environmentally friendly option. By investing in drone technology, farmers can increase their profitability, reduce waste, and minimize their impact on the environment.

Challenges

One of the challenges faced in adopting drone technology for precision farming is the initial investment in purchasing drones and training personnel. Additionally, regulatory and safety considerations need to be addressed to ensure the safe and effective use of drones in agricultural operations.

As drones continue to revolutionize the agricultural industry, it is essential for farmers to embrace this modern technology for precision farming. With the support of companies like DRON Assistance and initiatives such as the “Accelerating digital transformation in the public sector of the Republic of Moldova” program, farmers can optimize their crop management practices and ensure a sustainable future for agriculture.

Landslide Risk Management with UAVs: A Case Study in the Jinsha River Region

(Emergence Response & Disaster Relief)

Case Study 2

In October 2018, a large-scale landslide near Baige village on the left bank of the Jinsha River in western China raised serious concerns about the safety and security of the area's inhabitants. In response to the disaster, Sichuan Zhong Hui Xun Hang Engineering Mapping Co. embarked on a challenging mission to use drones for landslide mapping and management in the high-altitude terrain of the region.

The team faced various challenges in the aftermath of the landslide, including the need to assess the broken structural integrity of the soil to prevent further landslides. To effectively conduct risk mapping and monitoring, they turned to drone surveying as a solution. Unlike helicopters, drones proved to be more accurate, cost-effective, and efficient in data collection in the rugged terrain of the Jinsha River valley.

How it was arranged & prepared

Sichuan Zhong Hui Xun Hang Engineering Mapping Co. utilized the JOUAV CW-007 drone to conduct comprehensive mapping, monitoring, and early warning of the landslide area. The drone's vertical takeoff and landing capabilities, high-altitude flight performance, and long endurance made it the perfect tool for effectively covering the large area of devastation.

What was the objective of the operation?

The mission involved conducting detailed landslide mapping, monitoring, characterization, and early warning in the aftermath of a large-scale landslide near Baige village. The primary goal was to assess the risks of further landslides and ensure the safety of residents in the area.

This is what was achieved

The use of drones, specifically the JOUAV CW-007, proved to be highly effective in conducting landslide mapping missions in high-altitude and challenging terrains. The drone's ability to fly at high altitudes, withstand gusty winds, and carry large payloads allowed for accurate and comprehensive data collection. The drone's reliability and stability were crucial in completing the mission without obstacles, despite the complex terrain conditions.

And lessons learned?

Drones offer a valuable solution for landslide mapping in high-altitude areas with complex terrains. Their ability to provide detailed and accurate data can significantly improve landslide risk management and help prevent secondary disasters. The use of drones in such missions highlights the importance of leveraging advanced technology for effective disaster response and mitigation.

The ultimate guide to UAV setup for landslide risk management showcased in this case study emphasizes the importance of embracing innovation and technology in addressing natural disasters. By learning from the experience of Sichuan Zhong Hui Xun Hang Engineering Mapping Co. and their use of drones in landslide mapping, we can better prepare for and respond to similar crisis situations in the future.

Progress Monitoring, Site Inspections and Project Documentation - North Wales Police.

(Eastern Command Centre)

Case Study 3

Drone Technology

In the case studies provided, Dragonflight Drones utilized drone technology to assist with progress monitoring, site inspections, and project documentation. Drones provided a cost-effective and efficient solution for capturing aerial imagery and video, eliminating the need for costly scaffolding or elevated work platforms.

Dragonflight Drones provided weekly site visits with progress reports, conducted roof surveys without scaffolding, and prepared for the concrete base flotation by planning and obtaining permits. Before each project, the Dragonflight Drones conducted thorough planning and preparation, including pre-site visits to ensure they were briefed correctly on the client's requirements. Other factors, such as nearby Naval Vessels, that would impact on the flights were also put into consideration.

Mission?

The mission of Dragonflight Drones in these case studies was to provide valuable aerial data and imagery to assist with construction progress monitoring, roof inspections, and project documentation. They were able to offer a unique perspective that traditional methods could not provide, saving time, reducing costs, and enhancing safety.

What was achieved

By utilizing drones for these construction projects, Dragonflight Drones was able to provide real-time information, cross-referencing against engineering drawings, resolving disputes, and clarifying discrepancies between parties. The imagery and video captured by the drones allowed clients to view survey information without leaving the office and plan maintenance schedules more efficiently.

Lessons learned

One key lesson learned from these case studies is that initial reluctance to using drones in construction projects can be quickly overcome once the benefits are demonstrated. Drones offer a valuable tool for monitoring progress, conducting inspections, and documenting projects in a way that traditional methods cannot match.

Challenges

Overcoming reluctance to adopt drone technology, ensuring compliance with regulations, and managing complex projects within busy environments like shipyards. One challenge identified in these case studies was the need for careful planning and consideration of external factors, such as other vessels in the area, when conducting drone flights. Ensuring all parties are briefed correctly and obtaining necessary permits are essential steps to overcoming these challenges and ensuring successful project execution.

These case studies highlight the significant benefits of utilizing drone technology in construction projects and demonstrate how Dragonflight Drones successfully overcame initial reluctance to become a reliable partner in providing valuable aerial data and imagery.

Drones can be invaluable tools in construction, providing efficient and cost-effective solutions for monitoring, inspection, and documentation.

As agriculture continues to evolve, the use of drones on farms has become increasingly popular. Drones offer a wide range of benefits for graziers, including time savings, improved efficiencies, and enhanced safety. One grazier who has experienced the advantages of utilizing drones on his beef cattle property is David Bone. In case study three, we will explore David's journey in using drones on his farm, the key lessons he has learned, and the valuable insights he gained from attending a drone workshop.

Case Study 4

The Impact of Drone Technology in Grazing Businesses

A Case Study of Precision Farming and Stock Monitoring

How it was arranged & prepared

David Bone manages a 125,000-acre beef cattle property near Mungallala in western Queensland. He has been using a drone to assist with stock mustering and monitoring for over four years. In November 2020, David attended the Drone Fundamentals: A Pilot’s A-Z workshop in Morven, run by the award-winning professional photographer and drone educator Fiona Lake.

What was the objective of the operation?

The workshop was designed for both those who already owned drones and those who were considering purchasing and using a drone on the farm. Participants were taught how a drone can be used effectively, safely, and legally in a grazing business, and those who already had a drone were provided with a greater understanding of how to get more out of it.

This is what was achieved

The workshop helped David gain a greater understanding of the legal requirements of owning and operating a drone. He learned to use his drone more effectively on the farm, including reducing hazards when looking for and moving animals across blade-plowed paddocks. With practice, he has been able to muster whole paddocks and walk large mobs by himself using his drone. The workshop also provided valuable insights into other ways the drone can be used for on-farm efficiencies, including monitoring pipelines for leaks.

And lessons learned?

David realized that owning and operating a drone comes with stringent legal requirements enforced by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). He learned the importance of flying drones in visual line-of-sight to ensure safety and compliance with regulations. Additionally, the workshop helped David make informed decisions about upgrading his drone to better suit his business needs, emphasizing the importance of investing in quality equipment from the outset.

Benefits of Using Drones with Livestock

The primary use of drones on David's property was for mustering and moving stock in rough, hard-to-reach areas. By utilizing drones for these tasks, David was able to save a significant amount in helicopter fees and improve overall efficiency. Drones provide a less intrusive and stressful alternative to conventional mustering methods, leading to lower stress levels in cattle.

Challenges and Solutions

Despite the benefits of using drones, David faced challenges such as limited battery life, weather restrictions, and the risk of bird interference. To mitigate these issues, he invested in multiple batteries and a portable charger to ensure continuous drone operation. Understanding the limitations of drones and finding ways to overcome them is key to successful implementation on the farm.

Do you ever wonder how coastal infrastructure like concrete piers are inspected in an efficient and cost-effective way? Traditional inspection methods can be time-consuming, costly, and sometimes risky for personnel. In this case study number 4, I provide a scenario detailing how Engineers with Drones utilized the latest UAV technology for inspecting concrete piers, showcasing their efficiency, safety, and accuracy in assessing the pier's structural integrity.

Case Study 5

Efficient Inspection of Coastal Infrastructure

A Case Study of Drone Technology in Assessing Concrete Piers

Drone Technology

The drone technology used in this case study is the DJI Matrice M300 RTK drone. This drone was chosen for its stability, high-resolution high-optical zoom camera capabilities, and Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) technology for accurate georeferencing.

How it was arranged & prepared

The client, a subcontractor for a local authority, needed a comprehensive overview of the pier, including detailed imagery of every feature and defect. To meet these requirements, a DJI Matrice M300 RTK drone was chosen for its stability, high-resolution camera capabilities, and RTK technology. Detailed pre-flight planning was conducted, and a flight path was designed to cover the entire surface of the concrete pier.

What was the objective of the operation?

Using the DJI M300 RTK drone equipped with a high-resolution camera, engineers conducted a thorough inspection of the concrete pier. Images were captured at predefined intervals and angles to ensure comprehensive coverage, including the vertical sides and underside of the pier. Despite challenging coastal conditions, data collection was completed efficiently within a two-hour tidal window.

The Results were like this!

Engineers and inspectors analyzed the imagery for signs of damage, cracks, spalling, and other structural issues. The high-resolution imagery allowed for precise defect identification, and a comprehensive report was generated, including annotated images and defect assessment and classification. The report highlighted critical areas requiring immediate attention and provided recommendations for maintenance and repair.

And lessons learned?

The use of drones for inspecting the concrete pier yielded several advantages, including increased safety, efficiency, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness. By adopting drone technology for inspections, organizations can make informed maintenance and repair decisions, ensuring the long-term safety and functionality of their assets.

Challenges

The need to consider environmental factors such as tides and swells, as well as the coordination required with multiple stakeholders.

Drones offer a safe, efficient, and accurate means of assessing the structural integrity of critical infrastructure components like concrete piers. By utilizing UAV technology for inspections, organizations can streamline the inspection process, reduce costs, and minimize risks to personnel, ultimately ensuring the longevity and safety of their waterfront structures.

HOW TO CARRY OUT CASE STUDIES - Template

Bonus:

Infrastructure Inspection

(Say, Bridge or Building Inspections)

How it can be arranged & prepared

Example, using UAVs to inspect bridges and buildings for signs of deterioration and damage.

The drones are equipped with thermal imaging cameras to detect potential issues that may not be visible to the naked eye.

What are the objective of the operation?

To assess the structural integrity of the infrastructure and identify areas in need of maintenance or repairs.

The UAVs are able to cover large areas quickly and provide detailed images of hard-to-reach areas.

Possible Outcomes

Issues uncovered that need immediate attention, such as cracks in bridge supports and water damage to building exteriors like roofs to warehouses or factories.

By catching these problems early, engineers/inspectors are able to prevent more severe damage and costly repairs.

And lessons learned?

The value of using UAVs for infrastructure inspections.

Drones can provide detailed, accurate data that is essential for maintaining the safety and longevity of bridges and buildings.

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Conclusion

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drone are proving to be invaluable tools for precision farming, aerial site monitoring, environmental conservation, infrastructure inspection, Crowd Monitoring and Control (public safety) and Infrastructure Inspection (energy sector).

By following these case studies and learning from their setup, mission, results, and lessons learned, you can better understand the benefits of incorporating drones into your own projects. Whether you are doing precision farming, aerial site monitoring, monitoring wildlife or inspecting bridges, UAVs offer a cost-effective and efficient solution for gathering essential data.

The exploration of UAV deployments across multiple sectors reveals a common theme: the strategic integration of UAV technology catalyzes significant advancements and operational efficiencies. Whether it's enhancing crop yields in agriculture, ensuring the safety of public gatherings, or streamlining the maintenance of critical infrastructure, the versatility of UAVs to adapt to diverse mission requirements is undeniable.

Each case study not only illustrates the successful application of UAVs but also brings to light valuable lessons learned, emphasizing the importance of a tailored UAV setup to meet specific industry needs. These insights serve as a foundational guide for organizations looking to harness the potential of UAV technology.

As industries continue to evolve, the role of UAVs will undoubtedly expand, promising innovative solutions to age-old challenges and opening new avenues for exploration and growth. The ultimate guide to UAV setup, through these case studies, offers a blueprint for future deployments, encouraging a thoughtful approach to UAV integration that is informed by real-world experiences and achievements.

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