|Aerial Supervisor||- Aerial Supervisor|
Litter on the beach can be spotted from the air. From Beach “Belongil aerial.jpg”
Visual image of power cables from www.flir.com .
Photograph showing a hot spot in a thermal image of a power cableconnection. From from www.flir.com
Power line generation companies have long used thermal infrared imaging to scan electrical components, ranging from service panels, to substations, to power lines. A typical power line survey requires a crew of at least two: a driver and a scanner, together with a field truck and an infrared camera.
The procedure is to drive the length of the power line, while the camera is pointed up at the connection points. Hot spots are then logged for follow up. This method is expensive, in terms of labour and equipment and is often not adequate to complete the task. Many power lines run over mountains and other impassable terrain.
The alternative method is to fly the power line in a manned helicopter, which increases costs and safety concerns. The UAV can fly in an autonomous mode, in which the aircraft is guided via GPS to preprogrammed waypoints.
Most power companies have already surveyed their poles and have a GPS map of their locations. By programming these co-ordinates into a UAV, equipped with the appropriate thermal camera, one operator can now perform an entire inspection from a safe ground point. The UAV will fly from point to point, imaging targets of interest and reporting back to the operator. The cost per hour of UAVs can be as little as US$3.00. This makes the return on investment very favourable. Since there are no crew members on board, the vehicle safety concerns are alleviated and insurance costs are reduced, further improving the benefits of this approach.
Further information found at: http://www.asnt.org/shop/143wcd/IR16.pdf
Today's news coverage is a highly competitive field. Getting the story first and providing uninterrupted coverage, is of crucial concern. Most news agencies provide aerial footage of everything from traffic reports, to high speed police chases.
Most reporting is done from a helicopter. Between a staff pilot, aircraft purchase and maintenance, this is an expensive proposition, outside the budget of smaller regional and local agencies. Many of these smaller agencies share, or buy, footage from a central aircraft. This reduces flexibility and provides no market advantage.
The cost of running a TV news UAV, using a high definition video camera (as shown below), is substantially less than the traditional approach. An agency can pay a UAV operator to provide the aerial news coverage, in a timely and cost effective manner.