Carbonix executive director explains what to consider when buying a drone

Careful consideration needs to be taken before buying a drone. Carbonix executive director Jeff Eager explains.

When it comes to technology, it’s hard to know how much of a factor cost plays in quality.

For people in the market for a drone, it can be even more confusing. You have to consider the size, image quality, emerging technology and so much more before buying a commercial-grade drone.

Weighing up the options can be time consuming and complicated.

Drones are carriers of data. They allow significant change in business activities to achieve positive outcomes. That can be anything from productivity improvements, financial savings, information for planning and development, and a change in methodology.

Drones can help with surveying on farms and they are an efficient way to check paddocks without being on location. Practical examples include, spraying less fertiliser on a crop, checking fence lines or bore levels, infrastructure maintenance or monitoring, security or policing, manpower deployment, or even saving someone’s life or an endangered species.

It is business intelligence data that allows people to make better decisions for growth and improvements.

The range of industries that can benefit from drones is diverse, but the end game is the same. Drone data helps gather accurate, timely and reliable information to enable more appropriate action.

Getting the best drone for your business 

There’s a long list of factors that contribute to evaluating which drone is best suited to a business. This includes cost, size, scale, range, propulsion, autonomy, endurance, weight, features, uplift capacity, aerodynamics, electronics and proximity warning systems. Aside from this, there are other factors, such as a business case, to consider. There needs to be a return of investment from buying a drone. Reoccurring costs such as software licences also need to be considered.

There are also thousands of cameras and sensor technology that offer different levels of stable and reliable data.

Thinking about what the drone needs to stay on course and deliver the promised specs, is also key. Knowing whether data processing will be carried out onboard or post-flight also needs to be taken into consideration.

Another factor to consider is where the drone was made and who will answer the phone if something goes wrong. It is helpful to know who will undertake maintenance and repairs of the drone, if this is required.

Training employees to use the drone also needs to be considered, as the easier it is to grasp the technology, the less time and money is spent on training.

In addition to contemplating these key components of a drone, people must also be aware of regulations. There are no-fly areas and pilot certifications that can be attained.

Of course, all of these areas are important and each should be thoroughly evaluated.

But there is actually way more to consider under a “total cost of ownership” approach.

Other things to consider when comparing drones

Power –  Users must consider how they will keep it powered to fly and how many batteries are needed to complete a large-scale mission. How these batteries are charged in the field is also good to know. Also, think about how many cycles users will get from each battery before it’s unusable and how this is monitored. Users need to consider a genset capable of high speed charge, and the amount of residual power needed to safely return to land. Is this clear in the brochure specs, or are they based on full charge disbursement?

Area coverage – Users must consider how many grids will be needed to fly the areas they want and what the pass overlap is to ensure there are no data gaps. A 600-hectare area can take up to 20 flights on a smaller multi-rotor versus as little as two flights on others.

Accuracy – Will it provide guaranteed levels of repeatable, reliable, trustable data? Considering the real cost of redoing the missions, if there are data gaps, is also key. Manpower – Users need to think about how easy it is to set up and pack up and how many times your team needs to do this in one day, or week to cover the optimum areas. Users must consider whether staff need to drive from paddock-to-paddock, site-to-site, valley-to-summit to capture data that could be done with a single flight on a larger unit.

This thought process can be made easier with Carbonix – a drone manufacturer.

The story of Carbonix began with founder Dario Valenza’s vision and passion for elegant design in combining fluid dynamics and advanced composite materials. The company manufactures deployable devices that have long range flight capability. Carbonix drones are next generation devices for industry and defence that could help grow and improve a business.