Explore drone capability as the future replacement for despatch mission and the current challenges that drone players need to address as well as to correct public misconceptions about this aerial delivery system.

We all must have heard or read somewhere about a few projects that utilise drone as a delivery platform. As such, Poladrone’s home hub, Cyberjaya, is carefully considering and have taken baby steps to start delivering food around the suburb.

Personally speaking, food delivery is pretty good idea, considering that it potentially can transport the order in a short time but it shouldn’t be the highlight of UAV delivery process as society can benefit more with essential supplies such as medicines. The ideal example of this is what Zipline is doing in Ghana.

What’s good with UAV shipping is that it will save time for products delivery both on the company’s and customer side. Drone’s capability to take the air route can be advantageous in terms of skipping heavy traffic and travelling the shortest distance ie displacement from the distribution center to the customer’s location.

And not to forget that by using it this way, drone can reduce the overall reliance on manpower to deliver packages and parcels.

While the idea might seem grand and futuristic, in truth, the setting up process and the operation side of the UAV delivery might not be too beautiful.

Like many other business operations, there are many things/aspects that have to be taken into consideration or reviewed to actually create a working system for delivery by drone can happen.

Let’s explore the inner workings behind setting up the drone delivery system and speaking in realistic terms in the perspective of the system implementation in local context.

Rules and regulations

One of the biggest challenges for drone operator to set up drone delivery method is actually the local rules and regulations. Civil aviation regulations is actually to maintain the peace and prevent aerial accident and incident from happening.

As delivering packages would only definitely will be operating in civil residential area, the more reason for rules and regulations to be tightened and enforced.

Take a look at the general rules in drone operation in Malaysia:

i. No drone can be operated within 5km of airport, aerodrome or airfield
ii. Do not operate closer than 30m to people, buildings and vehicles
iii. The maximum height for operation in 122 meters above ground level
iv. Operation is prohibited inside sensitive areas such as government buildings

Take a look at the rule number ii, “Do not operate closer than 30m to people, buildings and vehicles”. This rule alone has presented a headache for drone operators that wishes to implement drone delivery services.

Amazon, for example, had long planned to execute aerial delivery system but their hands were tied down by the regulation. Recently, Amazon has requested America’s aviation authority, FAA to loosen up the regulations for them to start UAV shipping.

Practicality

The second aspect that will be taken into consideration when planning drone shipping system is absolutely the practicality of it.

A system must have practicality for them to be useful for many parties that are going to be using that particular system. In this case, the drone operator, company and the customers are the stakeholders that make up the system structure.

First, for drone operator and the company, they will face difficulties when extending the reach of the aerial shipping method. This is due to the restriction placed on the drone platform itself. For the time being, drone can only fly averagely up to 30 minutes maximum, with horizontal radius 5 – 7 kilometers.

Carrying loads, of course, can use up the batteries even more, and realistically speaking the flying time can be less than 30 minutes. In regards to the radial distance, drones would not be able to cover a large distance. In that case, to completely automate the delivery process for a city, a few distribution and control centres have to be set up.

Moreover, customers might have difficulties in receiving the packages if no designated drop-off site erected. In Amazon’s case, their customers can actually set up the drop-off point themselves.

Customers will mark the delivery location with a “unique marker” and the drone will use its onboard sensors to ensure the delivery area is clear. “If that condition is met, it will descend to a safe delivery height, hold in a hover position and, barring any other obstructions or hazards being sensed, release the package.

Image from Amazon

This, however, will pose another difficulty for the receiver. Having to set up drop-off point themselves might be a bit more inconvenient compared to delivery person actually showing up at your doorsteps. Not to mention, spaces to set up those points are actually very hard to come by in big cities and this holds true especially in high-rise buildings.

Weather 

As the weather can change unpredictably despite forecasting technology that is readily available right now, this can put a constraint on the UAV delivery service as well.

Drones now operate on battery and battery can be easily damaged when it is in contact with water (rain). Not to mention, the packages can be damaged too (especially food) when it’s raining as packaging the goods in waterproof container might not be ideal for short-distance delivery.

Plus, most drones are not built to withstand fast wind in which also is unpredictable. As such, to operate drone delivery service, the weather factor also must be taken into consideration before executing it.

Bottom line

This article does not seek to undermine drone capability as the future replacement for despatch mission, but rather to point out the current challenges that drone players need to address as well as to correct public misconceptions about this aerial delivery system.

Poladrone, as a drone technology company always seeks out every opportunity for drone technology to develop and hence helping the society benefit from it.


Getting a new drone, especially for first-time buyers can be tricky, so let’s explore what you will need to keep in mind when buying a new drone.

Drones have been the talk of the town for quite a while. While many have been pretty exposed about drones, the majority of us are still in the dark generally about drones but still keen to own one for various purposes.

A lot of people wanted to take up drones as a hobby, or some might even considering it to use it for professional purposes and so on.

Buying a drone however, can be tricky as there are many models that are being sold in the market right now.

If you are planning to purchase a drone in the future, it wouldn’t hurt for you to follow these simple 10 tips that won’t put a hole in your pocket while getting the ideal drone!

Let’s jump in!

1. Understanding your purpose

Before buying a drone, it is very important for you to know for what purpose you are buying the drone for. Is it for recreational purposes like drone racing or photography?

Or are you buying for professional photography or videography? If so, what kind of video quality that is required?

If you are buying drones for industrial purposes, narrow it down. Is it for surveillance and inspection? Or is it for mapping and land survey?

You need to set your priorities right by pointing out what you need a drone for. Pointing out your points for a drone will be extremely beneficial for you to choose the right drone. Like I said just now, there are many kinds of drones in the market and buying the wrong drone that is not suitable for your needs will only be a loss on your side.

2. Budget

The second you will need to consider is your budget. Your budget needs to be realistic. Be prepared to expect to pay more on heavy duty drone like the industrial drones.

After you know exactly the purpose of you buying the drone, you can now set your budget by surveying the price range of drones that are optimised for your needs. 

It is noteworthy that while some drone can be expensive, but it is easier to handle and high chance that it will come with flying training mode.

3. Understanding the drone specs

Next is to go through very carefully the drone specifications (specs). Before buying a drone it is important you read the product description of the device. The features of a particular drone model help you find the right drone model.

That being said, this is because the drone models out there are usually produced to fulfil one or two specific functions, and their features can be different despite they were made for a same purpose.

For example, for photography drones, the quality of the pictures and video can differ a lot, depending on the drone. You might want to consider buying drone that has the ability to cater to your photography requirements.

Example of DJI drones specs comparison
Source: NewsAtlas

Related: 8 Crucial Things to Know Before Buying a Drone For Photography

4. Where to buy your drone?

This is also one of the popular questions. In short, you will need to look out for official resellers, dealers and distributors. Avoid getting the drones that are up for sale on online shopping platform.

As such, Poladrone is actually a Tier-1 dealer for DJI products, drones platforms and payloads alike. We offer the latest DJI products that can cater for any kinds of drone requirements and functions. To see more of our offerings, head on to: https://www.poladrone.com/drones/

The reasoning is simple. Authorised dealers and resellers guarantee original merchandise, and updated operating systems for the drone. Furthermore, local authorised dealers should be able to help you in case something happened to your drone, and that brings us to the next tip.

5. Maintenance and spare parts

Like any other machinery, your drones should be maintained regularly and spare parts should be always readily available. This holds true especially the drones that are being used for professional and industrial purposes.

The brands’ authorised dealers should be able to help your to maintain your drone and have spare parts stocked. At the very least, they can help you to advise on the steps and procedures repairing process should your drone involved in any accident.

6. Practice and fly

If you do not have any prior experience of operating a drone before, it is advisable that you engage with drone training academy or get someone who is very familiar with drone operation to show you the basics. 

Or if you already are familiar with handling a drone, it is still recommended that you go through the user guide and run a test flight to get yourself familiar with the new operating system.

Image via PhotographyPro

7. Adhering to the local rules

Flying a drone can be fun, but you still have to make sure that you observe the local rules and regulations on drone operations. General rules of thumb would be: 

  • Drones may not be flown in Class A, B, C or G airspace; within an aerodrome traffic zone; or more than 400 feet above the ground.
  • You cannot fly higher than 400 feet (122 meters)
  • You cannot fly within 50 meters of any person, vehicle or structure not associated with flying the drone
  • Do not fly over crowds or densely populated area

Make sure you study in-depth about the restrictions and rules to avoid from getting troubles from the authorities and the public. 

Read more about drone rules and regulation in Malaysia: MALAYSIA DRONE LAWS (2019)

Featured image via: Lowvelder

Implementasi dron dalam industri-industri ke arah perlestarian dan kajian saintifik sudah menjadi satu pemangkin kepada lebih banyak lagi pembaharuan dan penemuan pada masa hadapan.

Seperti yang kita telah bincangkan dalam artikel-artikel yang lalu, penggunaan drone dalam skala perindustrian semakin hari semakin mendapat perhatian yang meluas disebabkan keberkesanan yang terbukti. Walaubagaimanapun, terdapat banyak lagi ruang untuk penambahbaikkan dan potensi yang masih tidak lagi diteroka.

Hal ini boleh dilihat dalam situasi pengunaan dron dalam perladangan kelapa sawit. Walaupun drone telah diguna pakai secara meluas, tetapi penambahbaikkan boleh dibuat supaya penghasilan sawit boleh dilaksanakan secara lestari.

Dalam artikel ini, kita akan bercakap tentang bagaimana sebenarnya drone boleh membantu meningkatkan penghasilan dan produktiviti dan pada masa yang sama membantu menyelesaikan masalah persekitaran yang sekarang membelenggu sektor kelapa sawit.

Isu-isu yang membelenggu sektor perladangan kelapa sawit

Sektor minyak kelapa sawit telah sekian lama diperhatikan oleh pelbagai pihak di peringkat negara dan antarabangsa kerana industri ini dianggap sebagai pemusnah alam sekitar. Sebagaimana yang boleh di lihat dalam media, ladang sawit biasanya digambarkan dengan kemusnahan habitat haiwan-haiwan seperti orang utan, tetapi sejauh manakah kebenaran hal ini?

Sebenarnya, industri kelapa sawit telah dipertanggungjawabkan hanya lapan peratus (8%) daripada kadar dan jumlah pembasmian hutan dunia.

Pembasmian hutan (deforestation) secara amnya telah mengakibatkan banyak kesan buruk kepada alam sekitar seperti kehilangan habitat, biodiversiti dan ekosistem dan juga perlepasan karbon dioksida yang tinggi ke dalam atmosfera yang hanya akan merancakkan kadar pemanasan bumi.

Menangkis persepsi tersebut, Dr Emma Keller daripada WFF (Tabung Alam Dunia) berkata bahawa “Minyak kelapa sawit adalah bahan dalam separuh daripada produk yang kita beli di pasar raya – produk-produk seperti syampu dan sabun, pizza, biskut.”

Penggunaan minyak sawit mempunyai permintaan yang sangat tinggi dan adalah mustahil untuk kita mengelakkan pengunaannya sekarang. Anda mungkin akan fikir bahawa masalah ini boleh diselesaikan jika minyak sawit digantikan dengan minyak sayuran dalam pemprosesan produk.

Menukarkan minyak sawit kepada minyak sayuran yang lain hanya akan mengakibatkan keadaan menjadi lebih teruk. Hal ini adalah kerana kelapa sawit menghasilkan isi padu minyak jauh lebih tinggi berbanding minyak sayuran yang lain.

Sebagai contoh, untuk menghasilkan 1 tan metrik minyak, kelapa sawit memerlukan kawasan tanaman yang lebih kecil berbanding tanaman minyak lain seperti soya atau bunga matahari.

Kawasan yang luas untuk menghasilkan isipadu minyak yang sama hanya bermaksud semakin banyak penebangan hutan akan berlaku sekiranya minyak sawit digantikan dengan minyak-minyak sayuran yang lain.

Menurut WWF lagi; “Bukan kelapa sawit yang meletakkan orangutan dalam bahaya, atau tanaman-tanaman yang lain yang mencemarkan alam sekitar. Amalan perladangan yang tidak lestari yang sebenarnya memberi impak buruk kepada alam semulajadi, menghakis ekosistem, memusnahkan habitat haiwan liar, mengeluarkan gas rumah hijau dan mencemarkan sumber-sumber air.

Perladangan Kelapa Sawit Lestari

Kelestarian adalah suatu idea yang kompleks yang mempunyai banyak cabang, termasuk ekonomi (ladang yang lestari sepatutnya adalah suatu perniagaan yang menguntungkan yang menyumbangkan kepada ekonomi yang mampan), sosial (amalan kelestarian sepatutnya di agihkan secara adil kepada pekerja dan pada masa yang sama menyumbang kepada kebaikan komuniti setempat) dan alam sekitar.

Pelestarian alam sekitar dalam pertanian boleh ditafsirkan sebagai penjagaan sistem semulajadi dan sumber-sumber yang mana ladang itu bergantung untuk kekal subur. Antara lain, ini termasuk:

  • Mengekalkan tanah yang sihat
  • Pengurusan sumber air yang baik
  • Mengurangkan pencemaran air dan udara
  • Mempromosikan biodiversiti

Tujuan amalan pertanian lestari adalah untuk memenuhi permintaan makanan masyarakat tanpa menjejaskan keupayaan generasi akan datang untuk memenuhi keperluan mereka sendiri. Pengamalan pertanian lestari mestilah mengandungi  tiga objektif utama: persekitaran yang sihat, keuntungan dan kesaksamaan sosioekonomi.

Bagaimana dron boleh membantu dalam melestarikan pertanian

Pemantauan

Dron adalah satu alat yang sangat berguna untuk proses memantau tanaman. Oleh sebab itu, pemantauan dalam konteks perladangan kelapa sawit boleh dibuat untuk banyak tujuan seperti pembilangan pokok, kawasan ladang dan sebagainya. Keupaayan drone untuk menangkap gambar yang tepat dan seterusnya menukarkan gambar-gamber tersebut kepada peta yang lengkap dengan topografi, bentuk muka bumi dan lain-lain.

Ini sebenarnya adalah satu kelebihan besar terutamanya dalam proses penamaman semula dan susunan pokok untuk memastikan pulangan besar dan pada yang sama memastikan kebersihan alam sekitar terjaga.

Dengan menggunakan dron juga, petani akan dapat mengenalpasti kawasan-kawasan penting yang mempunyai kemungkinan besar untuk berlakunya pergerakan tanah dan seterusnya mengambil langkah pencegahan sebelum terjadinya bencana seperti tanah runtuh yang boleh mengganggu gugat tanaman dan habitat haiwan.

Kesuburan tanah

Menggunakan dron untuk memeriksa kesuburan tanah tidak pernah kedengaran oleh orang sebelum ini. Tetapi cara ini semakin lama semakin diiktiraf disebabkan oleh ketepatannya. 

Ini boleh dilakukan melalui petunjuk yang biasanya boleh dinampak melalui analisa NDVI daripada dron.

Pencegahan pencemaran

Anda mungkin tahu bahawa sekarang drone telah digunakan secara meluas dalam industri pertanian untuk proses penyemburan racun dan baja. Ini kerana dron boleh melakukan proses menyembur dengan lebih efektif berbanding meracun menggunakan beg galas oleh pekerja ladang.

Amalan pertanian lestari akan sia-sia jika pencemaran alam sekitar berlaku dan dron boleh menolong untuk mengurangkan risiko pencemaran dengan melakukan proses peracunan dan pembajaan dengan tepat.

Lebihan baja akan diserap oleh tanah dan memasuki saliran air bawah tanah dan seterusnya mengakibatkan peledakan populasi alga. Racun pula boleh membahayakan hidup akuatik apabila diserap dan dilepaskan ke dalam sungai.

Utilising drone in archaeological field by the functions of 3D imagining, aerial imagery and mapping.

We have been talking about drones application in many areas such as agriculture, construction and land surveying. This is due to the widespread use of drones in this sectors and many improvements through R&D have been done to build the ideal drone for industrial usage.

However, in other smaller industries such as weather forecasting and archeology, the utilisation of drones to aid the processes is not fully adopted yet.

Nevertheless, these smaller industries have started to see the potential of drones technology that can be adapted into their workflow. In this article, we will be learning how drones can be utilised in the archaeological field.

Archaeological field revolves around discovering the relics of past human activities and nature occurrences. Archaeological processes normally revolve around digging and unearthing certain sites that hold historical artefacts.

How do drones are helping out these discoveries then?

Aerial Identification

According to Allison Dickens, manager of the Cambridge Archaeological Unit (CUA) within the University of Cambridge, “Drones provide key surveying capabilities and point the way to new excavation sites.”

This is due to the fact that drones can provide aerial view of an area. The identification process the site can be more effective as researchers would be able to see more than identifying from ground view.

This can be effective to survey the area for other potential key areas that may hold buried ruins or artefacts.


LiDAR reveals the underlying history of a landscape. Image from Kate Johnson.

Using LiDAR, some new discoveries which were not visible to human’s bare eyes have been found. The structures which were buried under the ground is easily distinguished by using LiDAR technology.

Evacuation Process Progress

While some archaeologists used drones for pre-excavation process, there are researchers that used drones right throughout the excavation till the end. Close-up, vertical and rapid shots of the digging process and area are taken using drones.

Bird-eye view will enable the detailed planning of the excavation process, by identifying the key areas for digging and time estimation on each site.

3D Model

Some historical sites may have ruins or build-up of ancient building but the digging process must be done in order to learn more about that particular site. But digging the site means destroying the structure above the ground. 

Here, drones play a very crucial role in taking pictures of the site and remains of the structure. This will enable the researchers to easily build a 3D model later on which will serve a great purpose of understanding that particular historic site.


(Top): A drone photograph of the ancestral Hopi village of Homol’ovi IV, a pueblo dating to the latter half of the 13th century, located in Winslow, Arizona. (Bottom): A screen cap of a 3D virtual model of Homol’ovi IV built using drone photographs.
DOUG GANN/ARCHAEOLOGY SOUTHWEST

Imagining Landscape

With the imagery function of drone, the landscape surrounding the excavation area can be easily captured and obtain. The surrounding landscape and terrain would help the researches imagining how the area looked like back then.

Conclusion

The drone technology is getting recognised day by day. Although it is pretty new in some areas such as archaelogy and research, more and more improvement can be done to accomodate certain needs in the field. With this, it is clear that drones are now proven effective to be utilised in many areas to help reducing the cost and capital.

Unprecedented natural disasters can cause many casualties when it hits populated areas. Authorities and government bodies will be on highest alert and sparing nothing to save many lives as possible.

Disaster management bodies will be struggling to address rescue missions as well as making ample preparations in regards to the possibilities of worsening conditions. This reason is specifically where authorities need to make quick decisions to ensure the safety of the affected population.

Let’s find out why drone is considered to be the perfect tool in search and rescue (SAR) missions.

Introduction

Drones first came into the SAR operative scene to act as the replacement for expensive usage of helicopters and light aircraft. This is because using this type of aircraft is proven to be expensive and sometimes are not effective.

Hence, some SAR team adopted UAS to further assist the surveillance activity but later on drones proved to be capable to serve other aspects and processes of.

Surveillance

Of course, drone is widely used in reconnaissance and surveillance in many sectors such as in military. The effectiveness of drones in monitoring and surveillance uses in SAR is mainly credited to its capability to mount many types of camera payload.

Cameras such as thermal camera and high zoom camera are priceless in the SAR operations. Let’s take the example of missing person case which normal SAR operations would normally involve SAR personnel flying in helicopter or light aircraft at a low altitude while scanning the area using naked eye, hoping to catch a glimpse of the missing person.

While this is posibble in mission flat terrain and less dense forest canopy, it is not ideal to do so in elevated Earth surface and dense forestry. Drones such as DJI’s Mavic 2 Enterprise is ideal to be used both in day and night time since it can be fitted with thermal camera and beam light.

Drones are also favoured as it is able to manoeuvre in tight spots and more thorough search operations can be done

In other instances such as flooding, earthquake or accident, drone can be used to monitor the damages, locating and identifying survivors.

Take a better look at how drone is used in SAR scouting and surveillance in the video below.

SAR using thermal camera (During night time)

SAR using high zoom camera

Rescue operations

Drones in rescue operations are mostly used to send in survival kits and foods as well as helping SAR teams to deliver operative tools such as ropes to the victims.

This is more effective than plane or helicopter food drop as drones can drop the packages at the precise location, in case the victims are injured or unable to leave the area. It is very helpful in the sense that rescue teams will take longer time to reach the victims due to obstacles such as treacherous terrains and natural blockades.

DJI Matrice series drones are essentially optimum for these kinds of task as it can carry high payload while still having good visibility.  Some of the Matrice series drone such as Matrice 200 is engineered with water and wind resistance features which are suitable for SAR operations.

Bottom line

Ultimately, drones are getting more and more recognition in various industries, and the effectiveness in SAR is undoubtedly proven. However, few shortcomings such as battery and flight time that can be improved to increase the efficiency of drones usage in SAR missions.

We have been talking a lot about how drones are used across industries, serving as the key to various automated processes such as mapping, spraying and so on. Precision mapping particularly has seen massive drone integration into its processes. That may be credited to the fact that the mapping accuracy is on par with the conventional land survey and reliable.

In this article, we will be looking at the mechanism behind surveying drone that has rendered it to be extremely useful in land surveying and construction industry.

Real-Time Kinematic (RTK)

RTK stands for Real-Time Kinematics which is a GPS/GNSS technique used to enhance the precision of position data received from satellite-based positioning systems. RTK is centred on the usage of fixed base points which wirelessly sends out corrections to a moving receiver to increase the accuracy of GPS signals.

The satellite and base station corrections will enable more accurate and the GPS engine can fix the position of the antenna to within 1 – 2cm. Traditional GPS receivers, like the ones you can find in your smartphone, or on most robotic platforms could only determine their position with 2-4 meters accuracy. 

Base point is actually a single GCP that constantly provides correction and calibration of the drone’s locational data. Successive GPS measurements at the base stations are paired with the GPS measurements made by the drone. This provides a mechanism for the reduction and elimination of the errors common between the two measurements. These corrections are applied real-time, requiring the drone and the base stations to communicate with each other constantly throughout the survey.

Image credit via Pix4D

Post-Processed Kinematic (PPK)

Post-Processed Kinematics or PPK is actually similar to RTK except for the fact all the corrections are done after the data collection. This means the need for base points as used in RTK processes is eliminated.

Drones that process data using RTK or PPK do not have different sets of hardware. Instead, a PPK drone merely uses a different processing workflow. Data collected by an RTK drone can be corrected using a PPK process, but it will involve a lot of customization.

Image credit via Pix4D

You should be able to understand the basic mechanism of RTK and PPK before we move on to the comparative advantages that PPK haas over RTK which we will be discussing next week!

Mari kita lihat bagaimana dron diaplikasi dalam industri pertanian.


Dalam artikel yang lepas; Drone 101: Sejarah, Mekanik dan Aplikasi dalam Industri kita telah membincangkan tentang asal-usul dron, mekanisme dron dan aplikasi dron yang sangat meluas dalam industri.

Teatpi, kita sebenarnya hanya menyentuh permukaan sahaja, terutamanya tentang aplikasi dalam industri kerana masih banyak yang belum diterokai!

Dalam artikel ini, kita akan membincangkan dengan mendalam tentang kegunaan dron teknologi dalam peringkat perindustrian.

Sekarang, dron telah digunapakai dalam pelbagai industri, terutamanua dalam bidang pertanian. Ini adalah disebabkan oleh keberkesanan dron dalam mengurangkan kos dan membuatkan aliran kerja lebih lancar dan efisien. Mari kita lihat bagaimana dron mengubah landskap industri pertanian.

Pemetaan

Image dari DroneDeploy

Pemetaan tidak dianggap sebagai satu langkah yang penting dalam penentuan hasil tuaian yang berjaya atau untuk penyusunan pokok dan tumbuhan. Tetapi sekarang langkah ini diambil berat,

Pemetaan pertanian sekarang digunakan untuk perancangan susunan pokok demi mencapai kapasiti optimum yang akan dapat mencapai kadar tuaian yang maksimum, memeriksa bentuk muka bumi dalam kawasan ladang dan juga analisis pasir/tanah.

Pemetaan juga sangat penting untuk memastikan tiada ruang tanah yang kosong dalam kawasan ladang yang luas. Selain itu juga, pemetaan juga sangat penting untuk pemerhatian saliran air, semburan racun serangga dan baja, dan juga proses tuaian.

Pembenihan

Kebelakangan ini, beberapa petani dan syarikat berasakan pertanian sudah mula menggunapakai dron untuk proses pembenihan pokok. Ini adalah disebabkan bahawa UAV boleh melengkapkan proses pembenihan dengan sempurna dalam cara penyebaran benih yang lebih seragam dan kadar pembenihan yang lebih tinggi.

Pemantaun tanaman

Pemantauan pokok-pokok secara berkala sepanjang proses pembesaran dan pertumbuhan berlaku adalah sangat penting untuk menentukan kesihatan pokok dan juga untuk mengenalpasti sebarang masalah seperti jangkitan, serangan serangga perosak atau kekurangan zat atau air dan lain-lain.

Mengenalpasti jangkitan atau masalah yang berlaku kepada tanaman amatlah penting kepada petani supaya mereka boleh menjalankan langkah pencegahan dan pembetulan untuk mengelakkan masalah tersebut daripada merebak dengan lebih meluas.

Proses in boleh dilakukan oleh drone dengan mengenalpasti spektrum cahaya yang diserap dan dipantulkan oleh daun tanaman. Teknik in dipanggil Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI).

Data NDVI ditangkap oleh kamera yang dimuatkan yang dapat mengumpul gelombang cahaya tampak, terutamanya cahaya dalam/dekat kepada kategori inframerah. Ini adalah bersandarkan kepada fakta di mana tumbuhan yang sihat akan menyerap gelombang cahaya tampak dan memantulkan cahaya inframerah.

Semakin sihat tanaman, semakin banyak cahaya inframerah dipantulkan.

Penyemburan

Penggunaan dron sebagai alat semburan sekarang sedikit demi sedikit telah menggantikan proses peracunan galas oleh pekerja secara manual. Populariti ini boleh disandarkan kepada keberkesanan yang terbukti dengan penyemburan menggunakan dron untuk ruang tanah yang luas.

Teknik peracunan konvensional kadang-kadang dianggap sebagai tidak efektif dan mahal dan juga berbahaya kepada pekerja. Keluasan tanah yang diracun melalui penggunaan tenaga buruh juga bergantung kepada saiz tenaga kerja.

Ini membuktikan bahawa proses peracunan secara manual adalah jauh lebih mahal dan tidak efisen berbanding dron. Proses peracunan secara manual yang lama akan menyebabkan isu-isu yang perlu diberi perhatian dengan segera akan bertambah buruk, sperti contoh, populasi makhluk perosak akan bertambah atau jangkitan tanaman akan merebak.

Tambahan pula, terdapat beberapa kebimbangan yang telah dibangkitkan tentang risiko kesihatan kepada pekerja yang terlibat dengan proses peracunan kerana pendedahan berpanjangan kepada bahan kimia yang berbahaya.

Pola-V15 merupakan sebuah dron yang direkabentuk sendiri oleh Poladrone yang boleh melakukan penyemburan 60 ekar sehari. Pola-V15 telah menbantu ramai peladang dan petani persendirian dan juga syarikat pertanian untuk meningkat hasil tuaian dan seterusnya, keuntungan.

Pola V-15 dalam kerja-kerja penyemburan.

Kami di Poladrone sentiasa komited dalam menyediakan penyelesaian perindustrian yang efektif, cekap dan berpatutan dengan membawa masuk drone. Kami adalah pakar dalam menyerap dron untuk kegunaan industri yang berat, bukan hanya dalam sektor pertanian, tetapi juga dalam industri lain seperti sektor pembinaan, minyak dan gas dan banyak lagi.

Berminat dengan operasi dan servis kami? Untuk maklumat lanjut, sila layari: https://www.poladrone.com/

Kesimpulan

Secara amnya, teknolgi dron semakin lama semakin menjadi inovatif dan maju setiap hari. Adalah tidak mustahil suatu hari nanti, tugas atau kerja-kerja yang memerlukan tenaga buruh boleh digantikan dengan sistem automatik hasil integrasi bersama dron.

The implementation of drones in the fields of sustainability and scientific research is already an application that will catalyst more and more changes in the future.

As we have stressed in the previous articles, the application of drones on the industrial scale is getting more and more attention due to its effectiveness, but there are still plenty of rooms and untapped potentials of drones that can be further explored to assist in smoother operations.

As such specifically here in palm oil plantation industry. In this article, we will discuss in an extensive manner of how drones can help in expediting the productivity and at the same time resolving issues that are clouding the oil palm industry at the moment.

Issues clouding palm oil industry.

The palm oil industry has long attracted ears and eyes internationally as it is portrayed as a destructive industry to the environment. Often pictured as a practice that took away homes from orangutan and deforestation, how exaggerated is this from the truth?

Image via NTU

The truth is, palm oil industry has been held responsible for 8% from the world’s total deforestation. However, oil palm is not the main cause of deforestation.

Deforestation, in general, has caused many terrible effects towards the environment such as loss in habitat, biodiversity and ecosystem, also higher carbon dioxide output into the atmosphere that will only hasten the global warming process.

In spite of that, Dr Emma Keller from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) – a charity that works to protect the planet – said that “Palm oil is in close to half of the products we buy in the supermarkets – in everything from shampoos and soaps, to pizzas and biscuits. It’s everywhere.”

The usage of palm oil is in high demand. We cannot avoid it. You might think it will be solved if the oil palm is switched to other vegetable oils in product manufacturing.

Doing that will only make things worse. This is due to the fact that palm oil yield is the highest compared to other crops. Other oil-producing crops such as sunflower, soybean and rapeseed would require more land area for plantation to produce oil. For example, sunflower plantation would take a much wider area to produce 1L of sunflower oil compared to palm oil.

More area for plantation simply means more deforestation activity will happen should palm oil is switched to another alternative. Quoting from WWF, “It is not palm oil that harms the orangutan, nor other agricultural crops that damages the environment. It is unsustainable agricultural production that impacts the environment, affecting natural ecosystems, reducing wildlife habitats, emitting greenhouse gases and polluting freshwater.”

Sustainable palm oil farming

According to the Union of Concerned Scientist, sustainability is a complex idea with many facets, including the economic (a sustainable farm should be a profitable business that contributes to a robust economy), the social (it should deal fairly with its workers and have a mutually beneficial relationship with the surrounding community), and the environmental.

Environmental sustainability in agriculture means good stewardship of the natural systems and resources that farms rely on. Among other things, this involves:

  • Building and maintaining healthy soil
  • Managing water wisely
  • Minimizing air, water, and climate pollution
  • Promoting biodiversity

The goal of sustainable agriculture is to meet society’s food and textile needs in the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Practitioners of sustainable agriculture seek to integrate three main objectives into their work: a healthy environment, economic profitability, and social and economic equity.

Ways how drone can assist in sustainable agricultural practices

Monitoring

Drone is handy when it comes to surveying and monitoring. That being said, monitoring palm oil can be done for various purposes such as tree counting, coverage area, and etc. Drone’s capability to capture accurate images and transform it into a detailed maps with topography, elevation, terrain and so on.

This will be a tremendous aid in the effort of replanting, crop arrangement planning to make sure maximised returns and profit while at the same time keeping the environment’s health in check.

Using drone, one also can identify key areas with a high likelihood of land movement to happen and inject preventive measures before it gets bigger (for example landslide) and that threatens the crops and the habitat in the vicinity.

Soil health

Using a drone to monitor soil health is probably unheard of before. Still, it is slowly emerging as the effectiveness of this method is readily recognised. This method is mainly conducted with clues provided by NDVI analysis of the drone.

Read more about NDVI correlation and soil health

Avoiding pollution

As you might know, drones are now utilised to spray pesticide and fertiliser in industrial farming plantation. This is due to the fact that drones are able to deliver precise results with low resources compared to traditional backpack spraying.

Practising sustainable farming will be meaningless if pollution happens. And drones help to lower the risk of pollution by the precise distribution of pesticide and fertiliser.

Excess of fertiliser will result in algae booming and excess pesticide can harm the aquatic animals when absorbed into the ground.

Featured image via UNDP

Let’s follow this recent interview with Jin Xi Cheong, Poladrone’s CEO to see what made Poladrone as it is now.

For the past 3 years, Polarone has been ramping up and escalating at an incredible speed and steep exponential growth rate. From changing public perception of drone technology, bringing drone as an industrial solution and increasing productivity and output, Poldarone has achieved so much in a short span.
Today, you will be following me, Afiq to conduct an interview with Poladrone’s CEO, Jin Xi Cheong. Let’s get started!

(Afiq) Hello Jin Xi, nice to meet you. Before we start, can you tell us a little bit of your personal story? I mean – things like your age, where do you grow up and what and where did you study.

(Jin Xi) Hi Afiq! I grew up in KL and moved over to Melbourne when I was 14 after Form 2. I completed my secondary studies there, followed by a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering at Monash University before returning to KL in late 2015. After graduating, I worked as a Finance Analyst at Intel over in Penang to build up experience in my financial literacy before starting Poladrone.

Let’s jump right to our topic today, shall we? You founded a start-up at a very young age. What exactly moved you to make this leap of faith 3 years ago? And what inspired you to come up with the ideation of Poladrone?

From a young age, I knew that I would not be able to work in a large corporate. I was often the chief troublemaker throughout my childhood at school and had a problem dealing with authority, especially when it goes against my personal beliefs. As such, I recall vividly that I told my manager at Intel on the very first day that I would only stay to learn until I found better opportunity elsewhere.

This opportunity presented itself in the form of Poladrone. While I was working at Intel, I was actively pursuing aerial photography as a hobby. The initial idea for Poladrone was actually to make aerial photography easy and quick to everywhere, similar to Polaroid – resulting in the name “Pola”Drone. However, what I quickly realised was that while the hobbyist industry is popular in Malaysia, the number of industry utilising drones for solving industrial problems is somewhat lacking and there are pressing problems to be solved. As with all early stage companies, we quickly pivoted according to the market needs. Within 1 year after joining Intel, I left and started working full time in Poladrone.

As my parents’ hometown is in Kuala Lipis (the centre of Peninsular Malaysia – check your map), we were familiar with the agriculture industry and naturally built our solutions around our own problems. Over the past few years, continuous improvements shaped our company into one of the leading UAV companies for agriculture solutions.

I see. That’s an interesting story. Now, it has been a few years since Poladrone started to operate. I’m sure, like any other start-ups and companies, there are ups and downs in this journey. In your perspective, what was the biggest achievement for Poladrone and what was the biggest challenge/letdown that you and everyone in Poladrone faced so far?

One of the most memorable achievements for us was how we secured our first large customer in the oil palm segment in the early stages of our company. For the oil palm market, counting the number of palm trees in an estate is a critical task as it’s directly linked to their yield forecast and fertiliser allocations. As such, accuracy and speed is extremely important. When we met this particular customer, we were selling them a ‘fully automated AI solution” for counting when in fact, we did not even have a product ready yet. When it came to performing the demonstration of the product, what actually happened was that a few of us sat down and manually counted tens of thousands of trees in a short time span. It was a very manual process but from the perspective of the customer, this ‘algorithm’ got the job done quickly, and very accurately! Thus, we got the contract and since then figured out how to make things more efficient and automated.

In terms of setbacks, we had our fair share of them be it lost contracts, uninterested partners, unconverted investments, but one critical mistake that I made was for a product launch. We were planning for the launch of an important product, and I got carried away by putting too much importance in making the launch look good, instead of targeting the right audience. A lot of things went wrong, but in summary, we realised that we trusted the wrong partner and ended up burning quite a lot of resources without achieving our targets.

Before we wrap this interview up, let’s talk about your vision for Poladrone. 5 years time may be a bit intimidating, let’s see where you visioned Poladrone in 2 years time.

I envision Poladrone to establish a solid footprint regionally around South East Asia and potentially beyond over the next couple of years. We had already established a strong profile within Malaysia through our agriculture solutions and will leverage our expertise to scale our products to neighbouring markets in the region.


Discover how drones are aiding the construction works tremendously by optimising time and material management.


Last week, we have discussed in-depth about the application of drones inside the agricultural field. But as I have stressed this all this time, there’s a whole lot more about drone application that can be realised through the technology advancement.

Today, we will be discussing one of the popular industrial application of drone; construction sector.

Construction sector is one of the biggest industries that is incorporating drone as one of the effective tools to aid the construction process.

Now, let’s see how exactly drone helped out through the various stages of a construction process.

Pre-Construction

A pre-construction survey is a thorough process that documents the condition of the properties adjacent to or neighbouring your construction activity through visual observations, photographs, notes, and other diagnostic devices as warranted by the complexity of the project.

The pre-construction phase is very crucial for the engineers as there are a few things that needed to be surveyed. A construction survey typically consists of determining current site conditions for future above-ground and in-ground infrastructure.

Land surveyors stake elevations for footings, collect topographic data for mapping existing drainage courses, invert elevations and diameters of pipe and manholes perform a number of other services. Land surveying services are used to establish the accurate location of proposed structures, accesses, pipelines, buildings, and other improvements.

The conventional land surveillance practice.
Image via Harbor Compliance

Land surveying method usually involves using human resources, heavy machinery & expensive surveying tools, that produce complex data. In actuality, you can get the job done in half the time & money, with greater accuracy by using drones.

Drones equipped with advanced payloads that can produce high-quality digitised map such as Digital Elevation Models (DEM), Digital Surface Models (DSM), and Digital Terrain Models (DTM).

Related: DEM, DSM & DTM Differences

These maps serve the purpose of the survey process, and in addition to site analysis, boundary & topographic surveys, maps, and plats, they also:

  • Help mitigate the risk of potential future regulatory enforcement actions
  • Minimize or eliminate costly delays in project schedules
  • Maximize project startup efficiencies through comprehensive regulatory planning
  • Provide data which helps define project scope and aids strategic pre-construction planning
A land survey using UAV
Image via Site Design Concept

During Construction

Minimising the risk and avoiding any accident is mainly the priority during the building phase, alongside materials management and quality inspection.

Drones are a lot safer to send in for inspections instead of manual inspection by the workers. Engineers and managers can identify the problems or any issues on the site via complete footage, live or recorded from the comfort of office desks.

Moreover, drones are suitable to be used for construction that is near any waterbody.  Plus, through orthomosaic map produced by the camera payload mounted on drones, can help with detecting deviations and taking early corrective action, thus reducing thousands of dollars in change orders.

Bridge inspection using UAV
Image from statescoop

Progress tracking and reporting to your client can be easier with the high reachability of drones. For example, you can track the level of the building completed simply just by deploying your drone and then comparing orthomosaics across various dates enable precise progress tracking and reporting.

A quite innovative way to use drone in construction is to examine the placement of post-tension cable. You can read more about this here: Using Drones to Reduce Risk in Concrete Construction

Post Construction

With drone, the BIM (Building Information Model) can be produced directly as it provides 360 degrees of views and insight of the building from bird-eye view.

Plus, aerial photography and videography can be a great marketing material of the property as aerial captured photos and videos are quite popular these days. Drones can reach places humans can’t, meaning you can capture a wide range of images of your building. These can be utilized in marketing collateral, on a company’s website, on social media platforms and beyond.

Drone-based method also can help in conducting after completion quality assurance process by identifying defects in the outer side of high-rise building.

On Going Asset Maintenance

Not only limited to the building construction, but also is beneficial in the long run; ie. the building maintenance and damage assessment. The data captured by a drone can be used to plan and improve long-term maintenance of the structure as well. After a project is completed, you can produce the as-built drawings and models created with the help of our drones. This detailed information makes it easier for the owner to renovate, manipulate and upgrade aspects of the facility in the future.

Drones equipped with thermal imaging can also fly over a building and detect if there are leaks in the building envelope. They can also identify areas of leak potential so owners can proactively maintain their facility before a small problem turns worse.

Drones can also help assess damage after a hurricane or any natural disaster. For example, if the roof is torn away by strong thunderstorm ; it is advisable to use a drone to safely identify the extent of the damage and plan for the proper repairs.

Bottom Line

Drone are consciously changing how we are constructing buildings and structures. Information and data that once took days to be collected can now be captured with incredible accuracy in a matter of hours — this translates into huge time and cost savings for anyone.

Like any cutting-edge technology, the research and applications of drones change continually, and we should always be exploring how we can continue to leverage their benefits moving forward.