The socioeconomic challenges faced by businesses across all sectors continue to multiply, whether it be the agricultural sector plagued by uncertain crop yields as a result of global warming, or storage facilities that find themselves at the mercy of increasingly sophisticated crime heists.

Ruan Botha, DJI product manager at Rectron explains how incorporating drones into day-to-day operations can help businesses mitigate against external factors.

Safety and rescue

The incorporation of drones could have a massive impact across all sectors, even going as far as saving lives. Drones are expected to bring about significant cost reductions, such savings will be noticeable in industries where humans have typically undertaken difficult or dangerous work, as safety and compliance related costs will be reduced or avoided altogether.

Using infrared imagery, the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual can aid in solar panel inspections, firefighting, as well as search and rescue.

When wild fires broke out in California’s Yosemite National Park, drones proved to be the ultimate tool, as an aerial drone with infrared technology was deployed to pinpoint where the wildfires were at the time and see in which direction they were moving, thus allowing the firefighters to go on foot, knowing their boundaries. The drones were able to save valuable time, as they relayed information in minutes that previously used to take up to 48 hours to accomplish, something the Western Cape could have benefited from when a fire raged across Signal Hill to Lion’s Head.

Another case the Western Cape might have deployed drones to save time was when an Icelandic tourist fell 20 metres while hiking on Table Mountain, hanging for 13 hours as the Peninsula Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) performed a technical rope rescue operation. After 17h00 on February 18, WSAR were alerted to verbal distress calls coming from Table Mountain, however, were unsure where they were originating from due to high winds. In addition to the efforts undertaken by WSAR, if a drone, such as the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual, was deployed, the search time might have been cut down, with its advanced automated flight and redundancy, capable of even detecting a manned aircraft.

Increased security

For many businesses, crime, and more importantly theft, is an ongoing issue. Keeping track of stock and having visibility of what is happening in and around one’s facility is key to any operation.

Having the best security can only go so far – that’s when drones such as the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual step in, as they are fitted with thermal sensors, picking up where the eyes leave off as a means of surveillance, especially useful for businesses that keep storage unit facilities.

Drones equipped with thermal cameras don’t need visible light in order for their pilots to operate them, as they pick up on heat signatures, seeing what the human eye cannot, raising the alarm if anything seems suspicious.

Even the Passenger Rail Agency of South Arica (PRASA) is looking to drones as a means of combatting crime associated with passenger trains. After a spate of train attacks, drones and forensic support have been brought in to help resolve the issue as part of a pilot project.

By embracing drone technology, the risk of human fatality is reduced, especially in conservation where poachers come armed. Drones can provide accurate information on the whereabouts of poachers, allowing for anti-poaching units to be deployed in targeted areas rather than searching for hours on foot.

Increased productivity in agriculture

With the world’s population projected to reach 9 billion by 2050, experts expect agricultural consumption to increase by nearly 70% over the same period, and with changing weather conditions, additional obstacles have emerged affecting productivity levels, however drones could address several major challenges, such as drought, logistics, transformation and food security.

With drones in the picture, farmers can maintain sustainable production, as well as gain valuable data and insight in a matter of minutes.

Drones equipped with Multispectral Sensors like the MicaSense Rededge MX mean accurate insight into plant changes and with the addition of high spatial resolution, farmers can see plant characteristics clearly. The red edge, near infrared spectral band provides an additional dataset useful for crop health indexing.

Multispectral sensors allow drones to capture and integrate multiple data layers for crop health mapping, and with any agricultural mapping drone the key is endurance, something the MicaSense Rededge-MX offers, with its metallic enclosure built for extreme durability.

Using the sensors, farmers can gather data on which crop varieties are most resilient without having to roam the fields themselves for hours, saving them time whilst reducing labour costs.

Sensor technology is able to detect changes in the environment, giving farmers the upper hand when it comes to mitigating against external factors such as disease, fungus, and water table destabilisation through functional data capturing and analysis tools, aiding fertilizer distribution instead of the traditional blanket approach, saving farmers money and increasing yield.

Given the drought in the Western Cape, water management has been highlighted, an input that is probably the most important for precision farming. Drones could equip the province as they can detect possible leaks or pooling in irrigation. Having a bird’s eye view, farmers can see what is being watered and when, allowing farmers to use water resources effectively and spot changes in crop variability sooner.