Drone solution offers built-in compliance features

REAL-TIME VIEW By accelerating a previously manual process, we are giving quarry operators real-time visibility across their sites

REAL-TIME VIEW By accelerating a previously manual process, we are giving quarry operators real-time visibility across their sites

25th November 2016

By: Simone Liedtke

Creamer Media Social Media Editor & Senior Writer


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Mining companies need to be able to track their daily operations and have full visibility of their sites in real time without having to worry about putting in place time-consuming administrative systems to comply with the complex regulatory regimen for commercial drones, says commercial drone operating system developer Airware.

“We’ve built compliance features directly into our platform, adding geofences and permission-based user profiles so that enterprises can ensure that only qualified operators launch drones,” comments Airware VP Emmanual de Maistre.

The company is aiming to solve some of the most challenging problems that the mining and construction industries have and to mitigate these challenges using digital technologies.

“Our solutions are changing the way businesses engage with the physical world, helping to digitise the world quickly, cheaply, accurately and safely,” De Maistre enthuses.

Airware customers have to ensure compliance with safety regulations when surveying and keeping sight of daily production.

“By accelerating a previously manual process, we are giving quarry operators real-time visibility across their sites, delivering smarter insights and site safety assessments, while driving new efficiencies and accurate production tracking,” De Maistre says of the growing use of drones, otherwise known as unmanned aerial vehicles, in mining.

In addition, mining companies need to plan ahead and deliver projects and outcomes on schedule.

Airware technology can provide customers with 100 times more precise data from daily assessments and, potentially, a five-times-faster turnaround on data analytics, enthuses De Maistre, adding that the technology helps to provide customers with the information needed to make insightful decisions.

De Maistre, the founder of drone-powered analytics provider Redbird, says manual operating surveying is expensive, slow and sometimes an inaccurate process and, therefore, some information might be outdated and siloed among various experts.

Airware solutions enable companies to integrate aerial data into their existing business processes and systems. These drone solutions include cloud-based survey planning, commercial operator software, vehicles with sophisticated autonomy and on-board sensors, cloud-data processing, analytics and reporting.

“Airware’s comprehensive solutions enable enterprises to plan, capture and analyse aerial data to generate detailed, survey-grade mining and construction site maps,” adds De Maistre.

The company’s monitoring drone solution combines mapping, as well as supply and production data. The solution is dedicated to job sites, mines and quarries, and provides analytics and contextual data on production, productivity and safety.

Assorted Applications
“Commercial drones are already changing the way insurers collect property information to improve worker safety and the customer experience,” De Maistre explains.

“Telecom companies use Airware solutions to conduct tower inspections; we provide a commercial drone solution to enable the safe, quick and comprehensive inspection of these towers.”

De Maistre further enthuses that utility companies use Airware solutions to conduct inspections on infrastructure, transmission lines and corridor, as well as substations where supporting equipment and infrastructure require constant maintenance to ensure electricity supply to keep the lights on.

The company’s solutions are also used in the oil and gas industry, landfill and waste management, as well as to combat poaching.

Airware provides a commercial drone solution to make the collection and maintenance of infrastructure data faster, safer and more efficient, says De Maistre.

He adds that the company provides not only common data, such as material volumes, but also data that is more pertinent to fleet managers, such as road grades and width, to improve the efficiency of fleet use.

“The data can be used to view two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) maps, which are as easy to understand and to navigate as Google Maps, on a desktop computer or iPad.”

He highlights, however, that Airware’s competitors provide a 2D map or 3D view that does not inform customers about issues on site, such as the measuring of stockpile volumes and the assignment of material types; road analytics to optimise fleet fuel consumption and traffic; plan blasting or the detection of noncompliant safety blocks and berms.

“Analytics, reports, key performance indicators and actionable intelligence, among other aspects, are what customers are looking for.

“Customers are neither map analysts nor data experts. They need to focus on what they know best, which includes building infrastructure, extracting minerals and producing building materials. We compensate for this knowledge gap by directly providing the users with reports, with the help of the map provided by the drone solution.”

In September, Airware acquired Redbird – a company that has developed the best application in the industry for visualising and analysing aerial data for mines, quarries and construction sites, says De Maistre. Airware has integrated Redbird’s product as part of its Aerial Information Platform and enterprise-focused workflow.

The Redbird solution, which aims to provide dedicated analytics, is being developed in Airware’s European office, which is based in Paris, France. The solution is built with the user in mind and is accessible online through a username and password.

De Maistre further says, with enterprises making the transition to digital companies, the need for new job skills is growing.

“Digital technologies are forcing a transformation in the workforce and we are seeing an evolution of jobs and roles in companies. Therefore, the introduction of new skills involving drones is growing, with domain expertise, such as mining and engineering, being blended with the skills needed to operate drones.

“Airware works with and helps to evaluate a number of companies globally to help them understand the technical, economic and operational feasibility of using commercial drones,” De Maistre concludes.

Edited by Tracy Hancock
Creamer Media Contributing Editor



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