Taking Care for Weather Conditions with Drones
While drones are proving to be extremely useful tools for data collection amongst a number of various industries, there are many current restrictions on the weather conditions in which drones are able to safely operate, making the link between weather and drone deployment a very important factor in UAV operations. Amidst the importance of climate to the Canadian landscape, it is imperative to examine the possibility and impact of varying weather conditions that occur while preparing to utilise a commercial drone. Notable ways to track and prepare for this are through pre-planned mapping and collection of climate information. With that in mind, advanced weather data plays a critical part in establishing ideal flight times when utilizing drone technology.
While of course precipitation is what first comes to mind, wind velocities are also a significant part of deploying uniform drone-based missions and therefore should be factored in the project planning and deployment phases. This also means that there is a demand for low-altitude wind acceleration data. Organizations in, oil and gas, government, energy, and construction will leverage high-level weather data analytics for safe site surveying, which allows for a better response to accidents and dangers.
While pre-flight planning for various conditions is a large part of successful drone deployment, information gathered during flight can also be extremely useful. Post flight, the data gathered in flight can be matched with the pre-flight weather data and can aid users in understanding how the weather has reshaped/affected areas over time. As an example, annual bridge inspections using drones can overlay weather data to recognise the effect of weather on the strength of the bridge’s infrastructure year to year. Over time, through analysing data of advanced weather visualisation, and utilizing drones to capture infrastructure inspection data, this technology has the potential to significantly advance analytics processes and improve the overall operations.
While the technology is advancing, and weather conditions are likely to become less of a restriction on future drones released to the market, these use cases demonstrate how weather tracking will remain a valuable tool in the analysis of infrastructure data collection for many of these large corporations.