Surveying coastal erosion in South Wales

Future Aerial have been working with the Vale of Glamorgan council to survey large swathes of the South Wales coastline.

In another landmark project Future Aerial have been helping experts gain essential understandings about the complex dynamics of the coast in this part of the Severn estuary which has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world — about 50 feet (15 m).


Since the end of the last Ice age the coastline has been shaped by sub-aerial and marine erosion, both of which continue today and require continual monitoring. 


Using imaging techniques developed over several years and following many similar projects, future aerial have been able to produce highly accurate, measurable surveys of the cliffs to be used for analysis and change monitoring.


For more information on coastal and similar work undertaken by Future Aerial get in touch here

In the drone

Future Aerial insights – featuring in this months Construction and & Civil Engineering magazine

“The most vital part of applying drone technology is understanding what kind of data is possible and what outputs are most appropriate for a specific purpose…”


For more information about our work in construction and engineering please get in touch here

Future Aerial join Comit project


Future Aerial are excited to be joining Comit as leading technology contributor on the “Automated Reality drone project”.

Future Aerial are working alongside Costain, Bentley, Crossrail, highways England and host of other companies to advance the use of drone technology and increase productivity within the construction and infrastructure industries.


About the Comit project:

“To become the Centre of Excellence for the exploration, development and implementation of mobile computing and communication technologies within the Construction Industry, by creating an environment for our members that encourages, supports and promotes collaboration, knowledge exchange, innovation, industry best practice and continuous improvement.”

COMIT’s mission is to promote the use of mobile technology within the UK construction industry by spreading best practice, promoting new developments and facilitating understanding between technology providers and construction companies.

To this end COMIT will support, instigate and promote case studies and demonstration projects, engage with like-minded organisations and actively communicate the benefits of mobile technology to current and future construction members through publications, meetings, conferences and links with educational institutions.

At the recent Digital rail symposium hosted by Bentley the Plumstead Crossrail hub was selected for the initial pilot, models were built using Bentley context capture .


Future Aerial very much look forward to working with everyone involved in Comit over the coming months.

Future Aerial at the Rio Olympics



Future Aerial’s mapping expertise was in full swing when we visited Rio earlier this year.



The Reserva de Marapendi was designed by American Gil Hanse, Construction of the coastal course in Barra began in March 2013 and played for the first time in March 2016. The 7,128-yard course was built mainly on a sand quarry.

The golf started today at the Rio Olympics for the first time since 1904! Alligators, owls and the world’s largest rodent are amongst the exotic hazards facing Rio 2016’s Olympic golfers….


For more information about Future Aerials work in golf please contact us here

The Open at Royal Troon

It’s that time of the year again and Future Aerial are excited to be back at the Open for a 5th year.

This years venue, Royal Troon, is renowned as one of the worlds greatest links courses and is playing host for the 145th Open in 2016.

As Royal Troon is situated at the end of Glagow Prestwick airport some thorough planning was necessary but it provides a great example of how unmanned aviation can integrate safely with professional cooperation. Thanks to the ATS Watch Managers at Glagow Prestwick and CAA Liaison Officers.



For more information on the extensive work Future Aerial undertakes in the golf industry please get in touch here 


airborne building condition surveys

At Future Aerial our approach to inspecting large structures such as commercial roofing is methodical and measurable.

Whilst traditional methods of inspecting commercial roofing with the use of ladders, cranes and scaffolding are rapidly being replaced by the use of drones, simple Aerial photography or video of these structures often prove to be a blunt instrument for engineers and surveyors.

Building condition surveys and change monitoring requires “repeat-ability” to understand asset deterioration. Additionally in the case of alterations on a roof such as solar panel installation a much more accurate understanding is essential.

Our techniques at Future Aerial are based on GIS survey principles and with the addition of traditional, ground based GPS we are able to create accurate terrain models as well as extremely high definition imagery of the entire structure.

In the following example you can see that our mapping techniques take hundreds of extremely high definition Geo-referenced photographs to make up the final survey.


The outputs can then be measured from which can be useful in less invasive types of repair from the inside of the building and also minimise scaffold where external repairs are necessary. The imaging process can then be repeated at a later date using image overlay techniques to understand how quickly and where deterioration is occurring.



Creating a digital terrain model of the roof structure can be very useful in architectural design and increasingly for solar installations where energy yield planning can maximise efficiency and save costs. 


For more information about Future Aerial and our extensive experience in this area please get in touch here


Inspecting superstructures- the QEII Bridge

How can the use of remotely piloted aircraft systems truly fulfil the promise of creating efficiency’s, maximising insight and increasing safety? The answer: A careful approach, meticulous planning and a deep understanding of the limits of the technology.


Future Aerial have extensive history in bridge inspections and performed some of the first ever significant UAV inspections in the UK.

Bridges present a good example of the incredible cost savings that can be gained by using drone technology (we can create an average of ¼ to a 1/3rd cost saving) with increased quality of data and significant time efficiency’s gained over a 100% traditional rope access inspection. Bridges also present a good example of the scale of complexity and planning that need to be employed to add this value in terms of logistics, legality and safety.

QE11 Bridge


Working closely with XEIAD (engineering and rope access company) as part of a sub deck principle inspection of the main span of the QEII Bridge, Future Aerial were able to collect high definition imagery of approximately 500m of the most difficult access over the river Thames.

Even a small and seemingly simple bridge inspection often requires hours of detailed planning, risk assessments and a thorough methodology but the QEII Bridge is a long way from being small or simple. Crossing one of the UK’s busiest waterways and carrying one of London’s main arterial motorways, the M25,  is also a highly monitored potential terrorist target with 24 hour military surveillance above and below the waterline.

Whilst the planning process for the QEII Bridge was several months in the making with the inclusion of the bridge Management Company, Thames Port Authority, local police, London ATC, all local emergency services, local council, etc. Future Aerial’s bespoke planning systems utilising the fdc_logo_001_small

allow us to take extremely complex projects and make them turn-key.

Future aerial innovation cycle is simple:

  1. Work with clients to find a challenge where we believe we can add value
  2. Proof of Concept
  3. Trials
  4. Using the FDC (Futuredronecloud) make it a “turn-key” Product
  5. Roll the ‘Product’ to a repeatable simplified process for change monitoring.

Below is an example of the level of detail Future Aerial attained allowing Engineers to examine individual bolts in otherwise extremely difficult areas to access.


Future Aerial effectively replicates some of the detail gained through the use of rope access, without the traffic control requirements, and at significantly lower cost in terms of equipment and traffic control needs. Future Aerial can provide 3D modelled and infrared outputs of bridges and related structures, effectively identify concrete delamination, steel degradation and other areas in need of attention or physical intervention.

Flood risk mapping for JBA Consulting

Future Aerial has been busy on many projects of late and with continuing fears over some of the extreme rainfall events Europe has experienced this year it is more important than ever to have accurate data for flood risk planning.  

Using a combination of fixed wing and multirotor platforms Future Aerial were able to capture data at a much higher accuracy than existing LIDAR data, this enables highly effective analysis for flood modelling and planning. Future Aerial’s unique geographic reach not only creates efficiency’s by decreasing travel costs and time on site but also cuts the carbon cost of each job by up to 70%. Being able to mobilise quickly and plan complex operations via the Future Drone Cloud (FDC) we were able to complete end to end data capture to delivery in just a few days.


For more information about Future Aerials work in flood risk survey and mapping please contact us here

Predictions for 2016: The year of the business drone

When business leaders used to speak of reaching for the sky, it was taken as a metaphor for setting high business goals.

But now, whether your firm is in retail, construction, security or sports, the skies may be a genuine source of commercial advantage. Rapidly improving technology and lower costs mean civilian and commercial drones – or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – are hovering on the very edge of the mainstream.

As reaction to Jeremy Clarkson’s new advert with Amazon has proven, the concept of deliveries flying through the skies to our homes seems to thrill and appall in equal measure.

2016 is going to be a critical year for the nascent technology. Here are four predictions for the coming 12 months in the sky:

shutterstock_269892872Drone use in rural areas to significantly increase

Drones are already being used commercially on a scale that may surprise the public. Devon and Cornwall Police has trialled the use of drones to monitor traffic accidents, search for missing people and to record crime scenes. Additionally, UAV’s are being used in farming to gather data on mass, which is a real area of growth in the industry.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. From archaeologists getting a quick and easy overview of an excavation site to wildlife rangers monitoring for poachers, the potential is endless. We are also seeing a significant increase in the use of drones in quarrying and mining.

In Europe one can expect to see more trials of drones in rural areas. As legislators decide how to ensure UAVs use is as safe as possible, it’s natural to test the waters (or skies) in sparsely populated areas. It may not just be hawks you spot on your next trip to the country.

Drones to transform emergency response procedures

Both Australia and the US have seen drones used to deliver medical equipment to remote areas in the past year. As drone battery life and Sense-and-Avoid capabilities rapidly improve, such procedures will become more frequent.

But I also expect 2016 to see more UAVs deployed in response to disasters or emergency situations. The potential of drones to help emergency services is almost limitless. From providing a critical overview of a disaster area to delivering blood supplies to carrying infrared thermal imaging cameras to help locate earthquake victims, drones can help save lives.

And whilst drones may also pose their own security risks (see prediction four), it’s likely police and security services will expand on their current limited use to help in everything from event security to monitoring illegal activity.

Europe to start paving the way for ‘Drone Motorways’

Just as the planes that fill the sky above us navigate along designated air traffic corridors, so will the skies have to be plotted and shaped for the mushrooming use of commercial drones. 

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is already taking on this task and in 2015 it started looking at proposals for how best to open European civil airspace up to UAVs. When it comes to ‘drone aircraft corridors’, Europe has been far more progressive than the United States.

_DSC3788The USA’s Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has been viewed by some as more conservative in its reaction to the commercial drones. So much so that Newsweek reported earlier this year that Amazon has opened a research centre in England to develop its delivery service as Europe is more ‘forward-leaning’ in its approach to drone regulations.

Increasing use of drones by European security and emergency services mean that the formalization of drone corridors are a case of ‘when and how’, rather than ‘if’. Expect major progress in 2016.

Drone regulation will largely remain grounded

Five years ago the FAA predicted that come 2020 there would be approximately 15,000 drones in the US. That’s actually less than how many are sold each month in the States.

The spurt has caught legislators on the back foot and there’s no question that drone use must be carefully regulated. As with all new technology (think driverless cars) public opinion is a mixture of awe, fear, excitement and suspicion and the use of drones by criminals, paparazzi and terrorists are obvious public concerns.

shutterstock_141781930High profile incidents of drones crashing on the White House Lawn or being used in an attack on the Japanese Prime Minister’s office will mean caution remains the guiding principle. And while it’s vital the issue generates considered and calculated legislative debate, the obvious benefits drones can bring society should add an extra urgency to the discussion.

Whilst 2016 should see progress made in relation to drone corridors, overall there’s unfortunately unlikely to be major strides made in the overall regulation of drones.

So while the skies won’t be buzzing with drones quite yet, there will certainly be more of a buzz on the ground about them than ever before.

See the article on Predictions for 2016: The year of the business drone

Image credit: Shutterstock

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