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.

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!

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.