December 13, 2014 future aerial

Cancel the helicopter

Interesting and thorough article on the commercial use of drones by the Economist.

“Drones can improve safety, adds Dillon’s John Fairs. They are increasingly used to inspect wind turbines for cracks instead of workers kitted out with climbing gear. Drones are also being operated for power-line inspections. As this can involve lowering from a helicopter engineers clad in insulating suits and safety harnesses to crawl along a pair of high-voltage cables strung shoulder-width apart, it can be a “recipe for disaster”, adds Mr Fairs.
Data collected by drone are often more accurate than information gathered by other means. Fitted with two cameras for stereo vision, a drone called AeroHawk can map the dimensions and contours of a road at a resolution of about 2cm, says Scott McTavish, boss of a British Columbian firm called Accuas that surveys infrastructure. The best a commercial satellite can offer is about 30cm, but it could take more than four months to book one and might cost at least $10,000, adds Mr McTavish. The aircraft-like AeroHawk does not need a runway. It is tossed into the air and recovered by parachute.”

Click through to the full article below

http://www.economist.com/news/technology-quarterly/21635326-after-starting-their-career-armed-forces-drones-are-now-entering-civilian

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