Change detection and monitoring has been a very useful tool and now with drone technology, more and more in industries and governmental operations.

Aerial surveillance by using drone has been used extensively in the industrial line of businesses. Surveillance by drones is proven efficient to cut down the time cost and provide more insights and details.

One of the current use of drone surveillance is to use it to monitor changes of a same site over a specific time period. This can be roughly called as time-based aerial monitoring. 

The main purpose of using drone to monitor changes over time varies by industries. In this article, we will discuss further the application and uses of time-based aerial monitoring that is currently being used across different industries.

Agriculture

Agriculture industry utilises time-based drone surveying as a tool to comprehend agricultural data such as plant health, crops growth, soil condition and irrigation. In the case of plant health, farmers will often fly drones in a specific interval of time (especially after a treatment) to determine if treatment such as fertiliser and pesticide is effective to the plant. 

This also can be done to get the general trend of crops growth in order to determine if more fertiliser or treatment is needed.

When it comes to soil condition or soil moisture index, it is relatively important as it directly affects the condition which the crops grow in. Soil moisture normally refers to the amount of water that is contained int he first 5 – 10 cm layer of land from the surface. 

Image via Esri

Soil moisture plays a very important role in controlling and regulating the interaction between the land surface and atmosphere. Soil moisture index does not only give insights to agricultural perspective of things, but it also gave us other data such as ecosystem. Soil moisture level can serve as an early warning of land erosion or land condition near/in a river that could give clues to soil movement such as soil erosion, infiltration and runoff.

This alone has made clear that UAV change detection can be used not only in agriculture, but also in forestry and environmental management, which brings us to the next point.

Forestry

Deforestation rate around the world is increasing at a quite alarming rise right now despite the many efforts of different parties to decrease the deforestation rate in order to address the severity of global warming.

Few parties all around the world such as government agencies have started to incorporate drone into their conservation operations to widen the surveillance assets and range. Using changes over time from drone reference can help enforcers to monitor the forest reserve more closely.

By using this method, not only the enforcers can see which area is at risk of deforestation and other further damages, they will also be able to calculate accurately the affected area with high accuracy thanks to help of RTK and PPK technology.

Other application would be identifying the habitat loss or upset ecological imbalance due to deforestation as well as threats of natural disasters such as landslide, flooding, soil erosion and so on.

Water Management (Dam, river, sea level increase)

As mentioned previously, the deforestation rate around the world has increased these past few decades which continually contributed to the global warming effects. The obvious effects of global warming would be the rise of sea level which threatens islands and coastal cities.

One way in which drones come in to monitor the rise in the sea levels which is expected to increase over time. Drones also are useful in monitoring beach erosion as the results of rising sea levels.

This will help authorities to plan out the contingency plans where some areas are predicted to be submerged when sea levels rose up.

Case study

Water management is crucial to society, as we use water in our daily activities. Improper use of water has lead to water scarcity and shortage in some areas. While you might think your area or country has no problems with water supply, the truth is, there’s a high chance the clean water provider is struggling to find more sources of water.

Drones can be used to monitor the water supply in major areas such as rainforest, lakes and rivers to see if there are any major changes that would lead to inevitable water shortage. Authorities then can plan to take measures to prevent the water supply shortage and thus, avoiding water supply issues to the public.

This is also applicable to monitoring a dam water level and the overall condition of the dam. 

Construction

In the construction industry, drones are being used commercially to monitor the progress of the construction. This application can be stepped up to another level by the visualisation of the changes of the construction in over time.

By doing this, project managers will be able to do reporting in a much more convenient way by visualising changes of the infrastructure progress in one window rather than showing a series of pictures as a replacement of time-lapse images.

You can view a sample of construction site change detection done by Hivemapper here.
How to read the map:

  • Blue is new — blue means the object is new.
  • Red is fled — red means the object is no longer there.
  • Gray is unchanged — no changed were detected

Urban Planning

Local councils are normally involved in the city planning in the area of their jurisdiction. As such, drones can help in planning for the development projects in the area. This is done by capturing the changes over time in the proposed site to see if there are any major changes from the past (for example, opening of residential areas) that would be suitable for a new development project (for example, shopping mall or parks).

The proposed site can be measure accurately just from the aerial imagery captured by the UAV which later can be utilised for the construction purposes.

Other than that, an aerial view of changes can be used to determine the traffic flow or behavioural changes. This will, in turn, enable landscape architects and planners to examine the existing social and environmental conditions of sites in far more detail than before and planning further development such as highways, upgrading roads, adding traffic lights and so on.

Example of vegetation management for urban planning purposes.

Drones is helping to accelerate stockpile and inventory survey process in different industries such as mining and construction.

We have always mentioned the usage of drones in measuring stockpiles especially for mining produces, but we have never really gone into how exactly it is done. In this article, we will go into detail how drones are put into good use in the mining industry to hasten their operations.

Stockpile management is important and a critical aspect on the site, yet the measuring process can be expensive, time-consuming and sometimes dangerous to the workers.

This can be a bit of a dilemma to most of mining companies as the conventional way of measuring stockpiles can be very time consuming whereas they would need fast results measurement to make decisions accurately.

The traditional stockpile measurement methods range from bucket counts and visual guesses to slightly more informed measurements based walking wheel length and height of the pile. These methods are riddled with inconsistencies, incorrect assumptions, and data entry errors, leaving companies without reliable data to make smart business decisions.

Bad data causes a negative ripple effect through the entire organization. It can create frustration and tension between operations and finance teams, unexpected costly write-offs, and eats away at profits.

How drones are flown in stockpile measuring operations

When using drones in mining operations, there are few factors that have to be taken into consideration in order to get the best accuracy out of the data captured.

There are three main parameters that has to be taken into account when flying the drone; time of the day, height of the drone and the flight path.

The recommended flight path for the drone when estimating the stockpile is to fly parallelly, not in crisscross or crosshatch.

Parallel flight pattern is sufficient to capture accurate data set while there’s no evidence or case studies that have proven flying in crisscross or crosshatch would help to increase the accuracy of the data.

Next, the best time to fly is actually when there’s high visibility and low wind flow. Generally speaking, that would be around mid-day or noon. This is due to the fact that the shadow of objects is much shorter at noon, at this will allow the stockpile baselines to be clearly seen.

Baselines are important when measuring to material mass as it is a measure of the accumulation parameters.

Besides that, the optimum height would be around 3 times higher than the highest point of the stockpile. 

There are a few other factors such as the image overlay and usage of ground control points (GCP) to guarantee more precise results.

Data processing

Data processing is the most crucial process when measuring material stockpile. There are many factors that can inherently affect the outcome of the results, which will influence the decision making heavily.

Once all the data was collected and uploaded, the software will use the raw collection of GPS points to estimate the shape and elevation of the pile.

To start the processing, 3D points across a given stockpile is measured. Normally, in this practice, we plotted the 3D points which can be numbered up to millions, not hundreds—as in traditional forms of stockpile analysis, which means you will get highly accurate measurement of area and volume.

Then, we would need to identify the type of stockpile on the site that was captured by the drone. Generally speaking, there are three types of stockpiles buildup; standard, ram and bin.

Standard stockpile is the most generic stockpile type. It is constructed with basic bucket loading and dumping techniques.

Image via Pix4D

Ramp stockpile is constructed high, with a narrow ramp, and is optimal for storing a large amount of materials in a very limited area.

Image via Pix4D

Bin stockpile is a common stockpile type. Materials are stored in a row of three-sided bins, with enclosures consisting of a hard floor and walls. It is the best solution to keep different materials separate.

Image via Pix4D

After determining the type of stockpile accumulation, we then will need to predetermine the base surface or the base plane of the pile. Aerial imagery processing software needs this info to accurately calculate the volume of the material.

There are normally two types of base plane of stockpile: clear boundaries and partially non-visible boundaries. A stockpile’s boundaries can be hidden by either by intersecting stockpiles or by a wall.

Image via Pix4D

Aerial imagery processing software will have options for you to actually optimise the processing software to increase accuracy.

Viewing results

After the processing part has been completed, it’s naturally the time for you to present the data as a report for further actions.

Below is an example of a stockpile measurement report.

Image via Propeller Aero

Not only the volumetric measurement will be shown, other dimensions such as area, perimeter, and ground elevation level will be shown.

This information can be used extensively to make logistic and operational decision. Questions such as, ‘Is the current stockpile of materials is sufficient for the project?’, ‘What is the rate of material consumption and does it tally with the progress?’ can be answered just by analysing the measurement results. 

Bottom line

Stockpile measurement and surveying with drones has been proven effective by providing accuracy and cutting off the time cost.

In most cases, using drones can cut off the time cost up to 60 per cent. Traditional stockpile measuring process would involve personnel walking around the site that would take up to 8 hours of operation compared to 3 hours when using drones.

Other than that, drones in measuring stockpiles can help to reduce capital investment, improve reporting, streamline inventory material audit and reduce manpower reliance.

Is it possible to utilise drone in the banking and finance sector? If we can, what exactly can drones be used for? Find out more in this article.

Over the years, we have often heard that drones are currently being used extensively in heavy industries such as agriculture, construction and so on.

Seldom enough we would hear that drones are being utilised in the insurance industry or banking sector.

This week, we will be exploring the current and the possible applications of drones in the banking sector, of how exactly drones are utilised to help banks or financial service providers to assess risks and making the correct decision.

Insurance claim assessment 

One of the possible applications of drone technology that can be adopted by banks is using it for insurance claimant process by the clients. This is first adopted by USAA (United Services Automobile Association), a financial institution based in San Antonio, United States.

In 2016, USAA has started to use drones to inspect homes for damages which will streamline insurance claims and reduce the cost of processing them, as well as time that members wait for repairs.

This process is normally done manually and in case of roof inspection, it can be labour-intensive and carry great risks to the technician and not to mention, time-consuming.

The data captured by the drone can give a better and bigger understanding for damage assessment process and then translated into cost estimates that are more reliable which then will be handed to repair contractor. It is believed by this, more money flow can be kept in check to prevent leakages and misuses.

Reducing physical banking 

Banks in Russia and Poland have considered using drones to deliver cash to their client base in their effort to reduce physical ATM and cash dispensers.

Image via Prineta


Mobile ATM has been a concept taken by banks around the world, to extend the reach of banking, carried on armoured van to ensure safety.

It is absolutely possible to use drones as a means to support the ATM mobilisation but there are a few things needed to be considered such as safety, cost-efficiency and the reach.

The main concern in safety is that the UAV system can be jammed with signal jammer devices such as drone jammer gun possibly used by criminals to rob off the drone money carrier.

This can be overcome by building drones with high resistance towards signal jammer. This way, risks of drone being shot down can be reduced and ensure cash machines can be delivered and returned safely. But this would require R&D process to build signal jammer resistant drone which will translate to cost of investment.

Cost efficiency is also another factor to consider when implementing drone cash delivery. On the surface, it might look cost-effective compared to physical ATM which would need you to place the ATM in every 5 km radius.

Physical ATM creates cost to banks to set up the machine, paying rent for the ATM placement, hiring security services to monitor the premise as well and to top up the cash into the machine and so on.

Similarly, drone ATM would have underlying costs such as setting up takeoff and landing sites, drone maintenance, similar in implementing drone delivery system.

The reach and power capacity of the drone might be other issues that would be to be addressed when considering to set up mobile ATM by drones. Most commercial drones in the market on average have up to 5 – 7 km radius of flying from the control system. 

This range is easily covered by ATM mounted on vans, and it can easily go beyond that. The only advantage that drones have hear is that drones use battery which is a cleaner energy compared to diesel-fueled vans.

Power capacity for drones in the market is around 30 minutes, which means the battery cells powering the drones can only last about 30 minutes on average. We must not forget that here, the battery must also provide a significant part of its supply to power the cash machine attached to the drone.

All of these factors have to be taken into account when considering to implement drone ATM machines, not to mention possible hiccups from regulation and risks of technology breach.

Other possible applications

Resource efficiency—Drones can increase inspection efficiency by up to 85 per cent,14 insurance companies can significantly reduce the number of field adjusters and better balance deployment of specialized, high-skill resources.

Fraud reduction—Drones can help counter fraudulent claims, which amount to $32 billion each year.15

Summary

Drone technology is penetrating every industry as it’s efficiency and potentials are widely recognised and attested.

Every day, banks are trying to humanise and simplify their operation to better serve the mass, and drones hold big potential to further this process. Although the idea of drone services in the banking and financial landscape can be out of context and far-fetched, it is possible it can drastically change the way we do transaction in the near future.

Explore the latest cutting edge remote sensing data processing software in the market, Airamap by Poladrone.

Last Monday, we launched Airamap, our web-based precision mapping analytics software. W have been developing this software precisely to cater to aerial mapping and remote sensing landscape in this region.

We published a sneak peek of Airamap, basically, we talked about some of the amazing features of Airamap. Today, we will explore all about it on the uses of Airamap, how Airamap can help to optimise your business and how you can get started with Airamap.

Uses

Precision Agriculture

Precision agriculture is one of the reasons why Airamap was built, in order to cater to the agriculture industry in this region, especially in Malaysia and Indonesia. This is due to the lack of software in the market that is suitable to be used for local farming data.

One of the impressive features of Airamap is the ability to automatically assess the mapping data and tagged the tree count. This is suitable to be used in oil palm and durian plantation.


Image screenshot of tree count map from Airamap.

This process is done automatically by Airamap’s AI-powered engine which ensures accuracy and fast-paced processing.

Other than that, Airamap can be utilised extensively to analyse multispectral or NDVI heat map which contains invaluable insights to the conditions of your plant health and condition.

To read more about multispectral imaging and NDVI, you can do so here: Multispectral Imaging: Uses And Application.

Airamap has been used by some of our clients before it was launched and it is found that generally, the analytical results can help them to increase the harvest yield, detect problematic trees and plan replanting operations. 

Land Survey and Construction

In construction and land survey operations, it is very important to observe and analyse the site topography to ensure the operation can be taken with regards to the safety.

As such, Airamap helps to process the raw data taken from the remote sensing collection to be translated into topography and elevation maps.

These maps are essentially important for building construction and Airamap delivers accuracy with data taken with RTK drones such as Phantom 4 RTK which has the centimetre-level positioning accuracy.

This will ensure the developers can get a bird’s-eye view of the site to give them a better understanding of the area’s elevation, and next, taking measures to ensure the project would run smoothly.

This elevation maps (also can be in form of DTM, DSM, DEM and etc) are also being used extensively in quarry and mining sector.

Quarry elevation maps from Airamap

You check out Airamap features, simply just by creating an account in Airamap platform. To do so, click here to head towards Airamap homepage and you will be given a sample data to explore further.

Get to know in details about Airamap features by going through the user guide. If you are interested to subscribe to a free trial, you now can check out the free trial packages here.

Explore more on the workings behind a multispectral and how it is being used especially in agriculture sector

Last month, the brand new Phantom 4 Multispectral was launched by DJI. The latest addition to the Phantom series surely excites the industrial drone bodies and companies.

Phantom 4 Multispectral is built to optimise the operation in agriculture, with built-in multispectral cameras. Many have asked what exactly is multispectral sensor and how does it work in agriculture and other industries.

In this article, we will explore more on the workings behind a multispectral and how it is being used especially in agriculture sector.

What Is a Multispectral Sensor?

Multispectral sensors are a type of sensor that is able to collect the visible electromagnetic wavelengths as well as wavelengths that fall outside the visible spectrum as opposed to the standard visual sensor that collects red, green and blue wavelengths of light. 

The non-visible electromagnetic waves that can be observed via multispectral sensor includes near-infrared radiation (NIR), short-wave infrared radiation (SWIR) and others.


Every surface will reflect different composition of wavelength and this reflected waves are the ones that can be observed through multispectral camera. That data can be compared to other nearby objects to understand the crucial differences between them.

Beside Phantom 4 Multispectral which is equipped with the multispectral sensor, other drones also can be mounted with third-party multispectral sensor such as sensors from Sentera.

Application in Agriculture

Drone multispectral imaging is now getting more and more adoption in agricultural nature of business. This is due to the capability of multispectral imagery is able to discern the health condition of crops and plants.

As mentioned earlier, as all surface would reflect waves differently from each other, healthy leaves will reflect different spectrum of electromagnetic waves than the leaves on dead or unhealthy plants.

There are a lot of types of data set images that can be indexed using multispectral data, amongst them; NDVI, NDRE, SAVI and many more types of vegetation index that can be used in discerning crops health.

Vegetation indices are usually measured using the aforementioned vegetation reflective properties. The indices are used to analyze various ecologies. 

Vegetation indices are constructed from reflectance measurements in two or more wavelengths to analyze specific characteristics of vegetation, such as total leaf area and water content.

Vegetation interacts with solar radiation differently from other natural materials, such as soils and water bodies. The absorption and reflection of solar radiation is the result of numerous interactions with different plant materials, which varies considerably by wavelength.

Water, pigments, nutrients, and carbon are each expressed in the reflected optical spectrum from 400 nm to 2500 nm, with often overlapping, but spectrally distinct, reflectance behaviours. These known signatures allow scientists to combine reflectance measurements at different wavelengths to enhance specific vegetation characteristics by defining vegetation indices.

NDVI

NDVI is one of the most-used vegetation indices up-to-date. It describes the vigour level of the crop and it is calculated as the ratio between the difference and the sum of the refracted radiations in the near-infrared and in the red, that is as (NIR-RED)/(NIR+RED).


The interpretation of the absolute value of the NDVI is highly informative, as it allows the immediate recognition of the areas of the farm or field that have problems. The NDVI is a simple index to interpret: its values vary between -1 and 1, and each value corresponds to a different agronomic situation, regardless of the crop

Curious what kind of features that AIRAMap has compared to other processing software in the market? Let’s see what really makes AIRAMap different!

All this while, we have been discussing the practicality of drones in other articles that have been published on this website. But we have never really delved on how exactly the data is processed and analysed after the aerial pictures have been taken.

Pix4D and DroneDeploy are probably the preferred software when it comes to processing drone data software and a few open-source applications such as QGIS and so on.

Pix4D and DroneDeploy have very high compatibility in processing data and simple user interface made them largely popular for drone data processing purposes.

Similarly, Poladrone has also developed a cutting edge web-based software that is optimised for drone data processing. Our own GIS software called AIRAMap is right now being used internally, ready and set to be launched.

As AIRAMap is developed in Malaysia, it is only natural that it is optimised for local usage and practicality. 

Curious what kind of features that AIRAMap has compared to other processing software in the market? Let’s see what really makes AIRAMap different!

AI-Powered Processing Engine

AIRAMap comes with AI-powered processing engine which is a major gamechanger. The artificial intelligence is also developed specially by our tech team, which is programmed to prioritised data accuracy and not at the expense the overall results visual quality. 

The AI, through countless data that was accumulated and processed, has enhanced its ability to accurately convert data into acute representation and information.

The major reason why AIRAMap is compatible to be used in this region is basically the ability of AIRAMap to detect and discern the condition of the trees in a region. This function is, of course, would be extremely useful for agriculture industry and forestry purposes.

Nevertheless, AIRAMap usage is of course not limited for agriculutre and forestry purposes only, but rather all-in-one software that is able to process drone data for various purposes.

Tree Counting and Plant Health Detection

AIRAMap boasts high-accuracy tree detection features with 99% accuracy. This tree counting feature is a valuable tool for plantation owners and company to forecast their yield and plan their budgeting and capital roll.

Next, with tree counting, AIRAMap is also able to provide insights about the individual plant health. This is done when the drone captured the images of the plants using specific sensors such as sensors from Sentera that will then generate NDVI maps.

<<Tree condition image>>

This map will enable the owners to discern problematic areas such as swamped or unkempt area and the plantation owner/manager will be able to put preventive measures into action so the plants will stay healthy and thus yield more harvest.

3D and Elevation Models

Other features that AIRAMap holds is that map models, as well as 3D model from drone imagery, can be easily constructed with the functions inside.

Map models such as DTM, DSM, DEM and many more are used commonly in construction and mining industries. With a proper presentation of the terrain and geographical surface, construction firms and mine operators can easily navigate the area to asses the risks involved in their operation area.

Furthermore, 3D models, especially for buildings, is utilised for inspection. The 3D model is done by stitching high-resolution images of the building taken using drones and then the inspection will be done by examining the 3D models. 

The damages or defects then will be able to be pinpointed as well as the severity of it. The maintenance steps then will be taken to address the issues.

Report Viewing and Visualisation

Other useful features of AIRAMap would be the customisable report viewing and visualisation. After the data from the drone is captured and processed, the users would view the results to take further actions.

In this case, AIRAMap provides flexibility which the users can choose how they want to view the results and the format of the report.

This flexibility offers customisation that can be fitted in many cases and provide efficiency for progress reporting and planning.

Bottom Line

AIRAMap offers more than just these 3 features. To fully support the industrial use of drone imagery processing AIRAMap is equipped with many other functions that will allow smooth assimilation of drone usage into heavy workflow.

There are plenty of ways that drones are being used beyond purely commercial operations. Some of them are even doing some good to the planet. Here are five ways drones are saving the environment.

12 years to save the planet? Make it 18 months now; wrote a BBC environment correspondent, Matt McGrath.

McGrath’s article title written last July has since garnered attention everywhere especially in online communities and platforms.

International communities and individuals are now paying their utmost attention in the effort to administer preventive actions to deal with all-time pressing environmental issues.

If you are following Poladrone’s updates and blogs, or just following the trends in UAV industry generally, you would be well informed about the usage of drones across industries such as construction, agriculture and many more.

You might have noticed that drones have been mentioned to be able to aid in environmental preservation efforts. But do you know in what way exactly drones are helping championing the environmental recovery efforts and process?

Find out how researchers and scientists put the practicality of drones to bolster their preservation operations and actions.

Disaster management

Disaster management is basically the function that can be found not only in environmental conservation but also is heavily utilised in SAR operations. While SAR normally involves areas when humans live, disaster management in the context of environmental preservation is to monitor natural disasters such as wildfire, drought and so on.

The Amazon wildfire that happened recently shooked the world because it was happening at a very large scale while continue to spread without any signs of stopping. Wildfires are a common occurrence in Amazon because of farmers clearing lands for agriculture, but losing track or control over the fire spreading can result in a large scale wildfire like the world has just witnessed.

Drones can be used to monitor the hotspots area which is the area that has higher tendencies to be caught in fire (regardless by natural cause or by human incitement). 

These hotspots are normally identified by the higher percentage of dry materials (such as dried shrubs and leaves, or forest which is close to agriculture spots that practice forest fire to clear out lands. 

Generally speaking, tropical forests are less prone to be caught in fire due to the amount of shade and the high density of living plants compared to forest growing in dry climate.

Nevertheless, these hotspots are normally monitored using both normal camera and thermal camera. Thermal camera can identify specific areas which are really dry or facing drought/dry season and precautions will be taken by authorities to take preventive actions.

In Malaysia, several state forestry departments, such as Sarawak and Pahang, have adopted drones as one of their assets to monitor the forestry area under their jurisdiction more carefully.

Wildlife Monitoring

The other key usage of drones in forestry is to monitor wildlife especially the key species that are facing imminent threat of extinction. Moreover, monitoring can also serve the purpose of tracking animals’ population, determining the animal’s behaviour, and migration routes.

Drones ETC

However, drones can be noisy and sometimes bothering and stressing the animals out. As such, to curb the minimal disturbance to the animals so their activities patterns are not messed up. 

To overcome this downside of drone usage, scientists and environmentalists had come up with a code of best practices to make sure the supposed behaviour of the animal is not altered when they are observed through drones.

Another reason why drones are chosen to be adopted into conservatism practices is because of the reliable accuracy and that is very useful in forecasting the population of a species.

Furthermore, national parks or forest rangers are using drones to monitor any suspicious activities such as poaching and illegal hunting inside the forest or parks under their watch.

Deforestation and replanting tracking  

Another practical use of drones in conservatism is to monitor the deforestation rate in certain area. Precision mapping that is accurate up to centimetres level has to be put into good use such as measuring the rate of forest clearance.

Deforestation is a very serious issue going on (albeit the global deforestation rate has slowed down) and should be observed carefully to not contributing more towards global warming and other serious issues.

Forest replanting is one of the efforts that has been taken by many parties all around the globe to counter deforestation in hope to put a halt or at least reduce the effects of global warming.

In reforestation, drones can be used to measure the progress and the growth rate of the planted trees. Map models like CHM (Canopy Height Model) compared between a period of time (for example a year), can determine the need for further human intervention such as improving irrigation or so on.

Other than monitoring, drones also are suitable for seed distribution. 

Replanting and seeds distribution

Seed distribution is extremely important in reforestation efforts. This is due to the fact that drones can easily cover a large area in seed dispersion process. What’s more important is that the dispersal pattern is more even and consistent compared to the manual method.

Evenly distributed seeds will have more rooms to germinate, without having to compete for nutrients and space which will contribute directly to a faster growth rate of the trees.

Spraying drones such as Poladrone’s own PV-15 which can be doubled as seed spreading drone is the ideal type of drones that can be automated for forest restoration.

Renewable energy 

Renewable energy would be the best alternative in cutting down reliance on fossil consuming energy. Renewable energy generators such as solar panel farm, geothermal plant, wind turbines and so on are regarded as clean energy sources as little to minimum carbon emission.

The application of drones here would be almost the same in other areas which is the plant/energy plant inspection.

Drone sensors and cameras can easily detect any leakage, fluctuations and damaged areas in plants and generators.

Another application, however, is to help in identifying suitable spots and areas where new renewable energy plants can be built.

Aerial mapping can distinguish the terrain of potential spots and the geographical shape then is analysed to discern the suitability of the area.

Moreover, the ideal spot would require an abundance of renewable energy. For example, to build a wind turbine, you would need to identify areas with strong wind flow, for example, coastal areas and hills.


This can be done using drones that are equipped with wind speed detection such as weather forecasting drones.

Similarly, this kind of drones can be utilised in searching for areas with steady sunlight coverage all-year-round for solar energy farms.

Do you know how drones are contributing towards Malaysia’s economic and civil development? Get updated on the recent applications of drones in Malaysia.

On this day, Malaysia celebrated her sixty-second National Day. As a company that was incorporated and based in Malaysia, Poladrone has nothing but well wishes for Malaysia to be a developed and peaceful country.

As such, Poladrone always strives to deliver our best in helping different economic sectors and civil aspects to contribute to the local landscape of technological advancement.

In the occasion of Malaysia’s 62nd National Day, let’s see how drones are actually contributing towards the betterment of society especially in the local context.

Civil Development

Surveillance

To ensure public security is continuously maintained, the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), has adopted the usage of drones way back in 2015. UAV usage has been recognised to be effective in enforcing the laws as well as keeping the general peace and justice.

The workflow by using drone surveillance is through live video captured by the drone projected directly to the control room so the police personnel can monitor any area at a given time and proceed to take proper measures.

Disaster Management

Malaysia Civil Defence Force (APM) also has adopted UAV as a helping tool in their operation. Recently, drones were used to monitor a forest fire recently happened in Miri, Sarawak.

Similarly, the Fire Department (Bomba dan Penyelamat) utilised drones to monitor a forest fire in Pahang that would back then posed a risk to locals.

They also have used drones to monitor hotspots which have higher tendencies to cause haze.

Johor Fire Department also adopted drones in their SAR operations. According to its Director, “Manual searching method can be time-consuming and when adopting new technology (drone), it is apparent that it helps the Fire Department a lot, especially in SAR operations.” 

Forestry and Conservation

Not only limited to civil defence and law enforcement departments, other government agencies that are involved in the forest reserve and conservation. States like Pahang and Sarawak are well-known for their bountiful forest reserve and well-preserved nature. 

To continue preserving nature as well as preventing illegal activities such as logging and hunting from happening inside the protected area, Sarawak and Pahang Forest Department are currently monitoring the reserve area by UAV units.

This is due to the fact that their personnel can monitor the area without leaving the safe spot, which will of course significantly decrease the overall risk in doing patrol rounds on foot.

Defence

Malaysian Armed Forces also are adding drones into their arsenal as well as taking appropriate measures to adopt UAV defence mechanism. 

In a recent talk, Malaysia’s Deputy Minister of Defence has said that “ATM agrees and admit the importance that UAV technology carries for the time being as well as in the future as one of the warfare strategies, and at the same time increasing ATM’s capability to monitor nation’s maritime and land border.”

Moreover, the Malaysian Armed Forces also are expecting to be receiving 12 ScanEagle UAV units from the US government in their effort to bolster their allies capability.

ScanEagle (Via Drone Center)

Economic Sectors

Agriculture

If you have read or have been following Poladrone’s activities, it is safe to assume that you are well-informed about the usage of drones in the agriculture sector.

UAV platforms have helped in many kinds of way in the farming industry, conveniently reducing cost, time and increase accurateness in problems and issues identification.

Besides for analytics, mapping, spraying and plant health monitoring, more and more usage of drones inside agriculture is being developed.

This is due to the fact that the farmers and farm owners that have used or are using drones as a part of their farming process has seen the effectiveness and are confident in the prospect of drones fully automating the farming in the future.

As such, PV-15 drone which is developed and engineered by Poladrone, also is being used extensively in plantations in Peninsular and East Malaysia.

Poladrone’s PV-15

Construction

In Malaysia also, drones have long integrated into workflow and operations of construction processes. There a few prominent construction firms that are using drones as a tool to monitor the progress, keeping track of inventory and maintenance survey.

The Minister of Human Resources also has called for drone usage to minimised risks involving construction labour following the aftermath of a landslide in Bukit Runtuh.

A team of drone operators also was established by one of Malaysia’s prominent highway developers, ANIH Berhad. The establishment of that UAV pilot team is a result of a landslide incident in 2015.

According to the report, drones are used to monitor land movement on hill slopes, traffic flow, roadway breach and many other usages.

Energy and Utility

Drone utilisation in inspection in the utility sector is currently adopted by Peninsular’s sole electric supplier, Tenaga Nasional Berhad. This initiative has been taken by TNB in 2015 to replace the usage of helicopter for inspection operations.

Not just in the electrical supply area, similar inspection operations are also starting to be adopted in the telecommunications sector. Drones will inspect the telco towers that normally would require workers to climb up the towers and that’s where the hazards lay.

Tourism & Hospitality/Creative Industry

In tourism and hospitality, it is very crucial to create an offline and online presence in order to better promote our country. And to do that, resorts and tourist attraction would have to capture enchanting marketing materials such as photograph and video.

Drones produced by DJI are all now comes with features to take 4K quality footage. As they are optimised for videography, it is only natural that they are also specialised in photography functions.

These functions, of course, are a big boost to the local creative industry players as they would have even more space to be creative and producing notable works.

Oil & Gas

Oil and gas is one of the biggest contributing sectors to our country. As Malaysia houses a whole bunch of oil processing and refining plants, it would be crucial for oil and gas to conduct checkups and inspections regularly.

These checkup and inspection operations would involve a lot of personnel and that sometimes translates to high maintenance cost.

Similar to the utilisation in the energy and utility sectors, drones are normally used to inspect the existing crude petroleum processing and monitoring new facilities.

Let’s explore drone’s 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 a 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 centre 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 the 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 are actually to maintain the peace and prevent aerial accident and incident from happening.

As delivering packages would only definitely 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:

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

Take a look at the rule number 2, “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.

Credits: Amazon

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.

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.

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.