All posts by Andrew

Droneflight acquires QuestUAV DataHawk PPK Fixed Wing

By | Drones | No Comments

L1002278-1As our clients needs have grown in scale and complexity we have invested in a fixed wing drone with PPK capability.  This enables us to undertake much larger surveys with greater efficiency than with a multirotor drone, it also means that we do not have to place ground control points to deliver a very accurate survey.  This is particularly important in situations where access to the survey area is restricted or to reduce the overhead of placing ground control points (GCPs).

When it came to select a fixed wing platform we had a number of key requirements:

  • Accuracy, it had to be able to deliver high quality results using PPK or RTK alone.
  • Flight time, we needed around 40mins.
  • Robustness, fixed wing drones typically have a “tougher life” than multirotors.
  • Real local support, we wanted to work with a company with real expertise in the UK.
  • Capability to operate with smaller take off and landing area.
  • Cost, its always a factor!

We looked at a range of fixed wings some VTOL, some RTK, some really expensive!  In the end it was the QuestUAV DataHawk PPK that met our needs and we found them exceptionally helpful.

For more information on the DataHawk PPK visit QuestUAV’s website.

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Droneflight establishes specialist drone training division – DronePartners

By | Training | No Comments

SmallLogoAfter providing drone training services and support consulting for over 3 years Droneflight has established a specialist training division.  In the past, Droneflight has worked with a number of different NQE’s to deliver ground school training to our clients, but after seeing the CAA’s latest recommendation, for NQE’s to assess pilots in the context of their operations,  we decided we needed to establish our own NQE to make the drone ground school more relevant to the needs of new operators.  Our training team is not without a strong heritage in this area with John Moreland the former Chief Operating Officer at EuroUSC joining as our training manager.  John has personally delivered over 200 ground schools and supported many of the existing NQEs.  Our trainers include highly experienced drone pilots who have operated demanding COMAH Tier 1 sites, off shore and with the emergency services.

With DronePartners we have addressed, head on, the CAA’s requirement to assess pilots in the context of their operations with different levels of flight test and flying locations that include semi-congested areas and a COMAH Tier 1 site.

“It’s really important that new entrants to the drone market get training delivered by real practitioners with the real world experience that provides the students the best possible start.  You can literally have a ground school tutor who is trained on PIX4D, as a Thermographer, with off shore experience, and students can ask those real world questions they need answers to.” – Andrew Griffiths, Managing Director, Droneflight.

To find out more visit the website.

EHang 184 in the flesh – personal transportation solution

By | Drones | No Comments

L1001848Basically, wow.  We have seen some very large drone platforms in past but putting a person into the mix changes the game.  Obviously you are not going to be getting a flying drone taxi in the UK soon but the fact that the kit is here and being promoted at this stage is surprising.  Also, if your over 5 foot 6 inches you aren’t going to be getting a ride (even if you wanted to!).

DPM Engineering have some short term practical application for this, which we can’t talk about and also an interesting collection of other drones including the very unusual SeaDrone.

Thanks to Darren and Kate for getting a close look at this.

 

Testing Elios for use in Police Firearms Teams

By | Clients, Drones, Training | No Comments

L1001433-14We always love a great testing opportunity and this was a really good one – using drones to increase situational awareness in Firearms operations.  Its great to see police forces innovating in this way to enhance the safety and effectiveness of their operations.  The Elios was used as it is collision tolerant, you can literally bump it off the walls.  Like every new technology it has advantages and disadvantages – if someone has shut an internal door you can’t fly the drone though it!  The Elios is equipped with the thermal and visible light camera and it also has its one lighting system.

It remains to be seen what the level of adoption of this type of drone is in the police but it was great to be their testing it first!  This has provided us with real practical insight into the required operating procedures and systems to use this type of drone in this very specialised application.

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Drone camera capability testing

By | Cameras, Drones | No Comments

target boardIt’s not enough to know that your drone has a camera and flies to deliver a high quality product to your clients, you need to understand what it’s real performance level is and its operating limitations.

Using a standard target board (left) we have been able to compare a range of cameras, lenses and drones.  The target board includes contrast lines that are 1cm, 0.5cm and 0.25cm wide.  There are many factors that affect the delivered images you take raw resolution is important but vibration, exposure and aperture can undermine that capability.

If we take the example of exposure, people can assume that a camera’s auto exposure is “correct”.  This is true based on the settings (usually an average across the whole image).  This assumption can create issues if your subject is different, from a contrast or lighting perspective, to the rest of the image you are taking.

exposureAs you can see from the images above detail is literally washed away from the image.  If you are looking at this part of the image for an inspection or your a looking to achieve a specific real world GSD (ground sampling distance) this is a critically important factor.

Look at the images below, its a daft example but it contrasts a Mavic with a Zenith (equipped with a Sony A7rII) both flying at 100m.  Its a question of the right tool for the right job.

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Image from Zenith at 100m using Sony A7r II

 

 

 

 

DJI M200 Launch Event – Fire Service College at Moreton-in-Marsh

By | Drones, Shows and Events | No Comments

DSC01812Earlier this week the our team attended the DJI UK launch event for the DJI M200 series at the Fire Service College at Moreton-in-Marsh.  It was great to get more detailed insight into the platform ahead of the market and get some detailed understating of the integration and SDK options.  We expect this to be a very important drone in the commercial market for 2018.