How to Choose the Right Drone for Your Application | Part 1

How do you choose the right drone for your specific need? You must have learnt a lot about drones from our blogs or your research. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones have become a central figure in process augmentation, efficiency application, and operational streamlining in industries and defence/homeland security use cases.

More and more companies and authorities are going the drone way to solve their industrial and defence bottlenecks while improving the safety standards for their workforce/officers. India is one of the fastest-growing drone markets in the world. A recent report by FICCI and EY stated that the Indian drone market reaches $885.7 million by 2021. According to the same report, the global market would touch $21.47 billion by that time.

All this brings us to the two essential questions relating to these stats and your own (potential) drone applications.

  1. How does this drone-led innovation and growth affect me?
  2. How do I choose the right drone/UAV for my specific needs?

In this article, we would answer both these questions.

Drone-led innovations and growth in multiple industries

ideaForge has, for long, been at the forefront of multiple drone innovations and advancements. It has helped make India a key stakeholder in the future of micro, mini, and small drones around the world.

All major industries like infrastructure, mining, energy, oil and gas, agriculture, transport, etc. would see use-case specific applications. These drone ‘applications’ improve:

  • Preliminary site reconnaissance with a faster turnaround on exploration and evaluation
  • Increased first-respondent situational awareness generating a clear strategic/business edge
  • Surveying and mapping accuracy, timeliness and cost-effectiveness
  • Detailed 3D-Digital Elevation Modelling (DEM) and Contour Profiling
  • Regular site/target area (including sovereign borders) surveillance for heightened security, operational control and project management
  • Fine and close-up asset inspections (so that no fault, anomaly, error, or malfunction goes unnoticed)
  • Crowd-control and disaster management (including search and rescue (SAR))

Drones are efficiency and productivity enablers for multiple enterprise and defence/security use cases. On one hand, they improve the surveying and surveillance quality giving better results, inducing better decision-making. On the other hand, they act as a resource multiplier, which amplifies the abilities of your current workforce or officer strength.

How to choose the right drone for your specific application

What do you look for in a drone? Essentially, you look for these 3 things.

  1. Drone-Solution fit – This is where you know the drone would be the right fit to your specific industrial or defence/security scenario.
  2. Endurance – The drones should be durable, reliable, available, manageable, and portable.
    1.  Durability means that the drones would continue to function well in multiple scenarios, across terrains and through adverse conditions.
    2. Reliable means that the drones would produce consistently accurate results over time, across locations and scenarios.
    3. Available means that the drones would be operational and functional for almost the entirety of their usage with little or no downtime.
    4. Manageable means that the drones are extremely user-friendly and easy to handle through a controller or even remotely through an app (ideaForge’s BlueFire Live!)
    5. Portable (w.r.t drones) means that the drones can be carried anywhere in, perhaps, a single bag and deployed from the spot by an operator from even a small area.
  3. Application results and KPIs – The drones should produce accurate results every time they are sent out and perform well across key performance indicators (KPIs).
    1. Accuracy – The drones should produce highly accurate results in quick time (creating a clear advantage over alternative surveying, mapping and surveillance options).
    2. Stability – The drones should be able to conduct stable surveillance and surveying. Even though this is essentially a part of endurance, the stability factor is a pivotal aspect for the quality of the final results. The drones should be able to stay still (hover at a single spot) to conduct close asset inspections or survey across automated waypoints (patrolling pathway).
    3. Replicability – The drone results should be readily replicable (with the same accuracy standards) across scenarios, terrain and applications.

What are the types of drones/UAVs?

The broad classification or types of drones (also referred to as Remotely Piloted Aircraft – RPAs) are as follows:

CategoryMaximum Take-off Weight (MTOW)
Nano<= 250 gms
Micro> 250 gms and <= 2 kg
Small> 2 kg and <= 25 kg
Medium> 25 kg and <= 150 kg
Large> 150 kg

 The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) follows this broad categorization method.

Let’s jump back to the applications discussed earlier and connect them to the drones. Which of the drones listed above would you need? You are thinking of Micro, Mini or Small drones if you require them to:

  • Survey and map your oil or mining block, construction site, plant location, etc.,
  • Build a Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for your (agricultural) fields,
  • Create situational awareness with live surveillance information to secure your plant, power lines, railway tracks, project sites, or crowd gatherings,
  • Conduct detailed asset inspections for timely and safe maintenance,
  • Generate awareness through direct information dispersal across large areas (through megaphone-carrying drones), and more.

Outlook: How to choose the right drone – Top 3 things to consider

Just a recap. Always look at the Drone-solution fit when you are evaluating your options. Then look at the endurance (how well would these drones actually undertake the proposed solution). ideaForge drones have the highest recorded endurance in their class. It’s not just a statement, it’s a platform to build an even better drone-solution fit.

Finally, look at the application results and the KPIs. Which drone improves your current KPIs and boosts overall processes? Look at drones that are enterprise-ready and versatile. We will look deeper into the versatility and enterprise-readiness of drones in part 2 of How to choose the right drone. We will also look at the different types and classifications of drones. Make your way to part 2, to know more.

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