Industrial drone operations require highly robust features for industrial-scale applications such as oil & gas, factories, power lines, pipes, and commercial infrastructure management and inspection daily.
Unmanned autonomous systems for industrial applications present unique design and built. Every drone has slightly different requirements, but industrial drones, in particular, have very high necessity in continuous operation, with minimum failures and maximum efficiency.
The immense potential of industrial drones is tempered by the shortfalls in the technology required to make them completely long term reliable and safe to operate. This does not mean that the future of industrial drone technology isn’t already here, it is, and industry players must get on board before it’s too late.
There are three main challenges to the reliable, effective, and safe deployment of industrial drones on a commercial scale:
Whether the drone use is for the average hobbyist of the serious industrial operator, unmanned automatic vehicles require top design quality and build efficiency. With industrial drones, in particular, there is no room for design shortfalls which could lead to costly and dangerous failings.
Scaling up data analysis
Drones and data gathering cannot be separated. No matter where they operate, industrial drones need a steady stream of data upload and analysis capability. Industrial drone operators are encouraged to include quality OEM options to their drone system to get the best all-rounded solution for on-premise, real-time data analysis.
Operating autonomously over long ranges and transmitting data in real-time, requires finding a combination of technologies that offer high uptime, and that is a major challenge for an always moving platform like industrial drones.
Using a single type of communication method is simply a non-starter in the industrial drone space as there are usually stringent requirements for failsafe operation above populated areas.
None of the three main challenges to industrial drone application have been fully solved because this area is an emerging market which still faces many regulation and technological challenges.
Also, like all technologies, the reliability of drone systems takes time to develop. Only now are many of the more recent technologies accumulated enough experience in order to scale commercially.
Reliability of the platform
Make sure that the components you choose can assist in the reliability of the full solution for continuous operation. The more operational time a drone system can gain, the better it is for its continued performance.
Work with OEM partners who offer creative solutions to common challenges. hardware dependent or hardware agnostic. Industrial drone components are becoming lighter, less heat generating, better able to provide continuous operation, and ensure reliability levels are sufficient for commercial scaling.
Post-processing or real-time video analysis is key
You can choose to develop these capabilities independently or you can use existing OEM solutions. Some of the best OEM providers for real-time video analysis do this by combining computer vision and multi-source data analytics to create a visual stream of highly accurate, real-time information.
Connectivity – Halo by Elsight
Elsight’s class-leading Halo Technology offers a solution to the connectivity challenge by fusing different communication links to create an unlimited drone operating range in one compact board. Halo’s use of hybrid and modular technology solves the problem of limited bandwidth and connectivity over vast areas.
Uniting forces of different communication methods and exploiting the qualities of each of them is key for continues, reliable, scalable industrial drones operations
By combining multiple links in a given location, Halo maintains a network tunnel that continues to transmit data such as video, audio, and telemetry at every given second. Using its superior failover protection solution, Halo locates failed transmission channels in its path and re-routes transmission through suitable channels.
With all drones, but industrial drones, in particular, connectivity is key. This is because operating continuity is paramount. Platform reliability is as important as high uptime and increased levels of operating capacity are non-negotiable. Lastly, the powerful real-time analysis makes all the difference as drones perform their intended function.
Written by Ori Koren
VP of business development, Elsight
Contributor – Ran Kohn
System Engineer, Hardware team leader, Airobotics