One Billion Drones by 2030?

U.S. futurist Thomas Frey spoke on the future of drones at the World of Drones Congress in Brisbane.

No, there will not be 1 billion drones flying around the world in 2030. The concept of a drone, as defined by futurist Thomas Frey, means there will be 1 billion unmanned vehicles flying, rolling, swimming and more.

Frey touched on the impact drones could have in the future while speaking at the World of Drones Congress in Brisbane.

“In the future drones are going to have multiple capabilities, so let’s not think of them as little flying cameras,” he told the audience.

“They can also roll on the ground, they can stick to the side of a building, float in the river, dive under water… they can climb a tree and attach themselves like a parasite to the side of a plane. A driverless car is a drone.”

Frey said he believed one day every city would have its own fleet of drones, making tasks more efficient across areas like health, education, business, travel, and leisure.

While Frey expects drones to have a positive impact moving forward, he said the industry needs to recognize that until battery technology makes major leaps forward, the impact is always going to be limited.


A Real World Look at How Aerial Surveys with Drone Technology are Revolutionizing the Industry

How Aerial Surveys with Drones Save Companies Money: A Real World Look

Drones in Mining and Aggregates, Part Two

Aerial surveys for stockpilesIn Part 1 of this series, we took a step-by-step look at our process of measuring stockpiles through aerial surveys in mining, aggregates and construction. The process itself is quick and efficient, particularly in comparison with traditional quantifying methods (i.e. “walking the piles”).

Whether a company decides to invest in its own drone package for recurring aerial surveys, or hires a qualified service provider to come out periodically (Diverse Flight Solutions does both in the state of Florida), this technology is saving mining and aggregate firms a great deal of money, time, as well as liability.

Now that you’ve seen the calculation process, let’s take a look at one company’s in-depth economic study comparing stockpile measurement done through conventional methods versus aerial surveys through drone technology.

Aerial Surveys Provide Substantial Savings for Alabama Contracting Company

This study, provided by Kespry, begins by adding up the company’s costs associated with quantifying stockpiles at three sites—each with a total of 30 large piles—over the course of a year.  Costs were broken down into three categories as follows:
mining and aggregate measurementAnnual Costs (Without Drone)

Manpower – Before incorporating aerial surveys, the company conducted four internal volumetric measurements over the course of the year. Each of the three sites took a week to quantify, which translated to a total of 576 hours at $30/hr for an annual total of $17,280 of employee manpower.

Equipment – The cost of the survey and GPS equipment was figured by the firm’s finance department to be $11/hr, adding up to $4,752 over the course of the year.

Third Party Expenses – Two external ground surveys were completed throughout the year as well. One was carried out via manned aircraft at a cost of $11,000 and another by ground at $4,800, for a third party total of $15,800.

Total Annual Cost: $37,832

Continued on Next Page: Annual Costs Using a Drone/Summary

Watch: WFTV flew a drone over Flagler Beach after Hurricane Matthew




A stranded veteran and his dog were rescued from Hurricane Matthew flooding in North Carolina with the help of a drone and social media.

Craig Williams of Austin, Texas, was concerned for his brother Chris Williams, who was stranded on the second floor of his home because of flooding in Hopes Mills, North Carolina.

Chris Williams, a Navy veteran, was with his dog, Lana, who did not know how to swim. He began calling for help, only to find that emergency services were down in the area.

When Chris Williams was unable to find help, he contacted his brother hoping he would have more luck.

Craig Williams began searching Twitter to find information on when the flood waters might subside. To make light of the situation, Craig Williams sent a photo to his brother showing homes submerged in water.

“I saw this incredibly devastated neighborhood, where you couldn’t see anything, just the rooftops,” Craig Williams told ABC News. “Then I sent it to him as a joke and was like, ‘Well, at least it’s not as bad as this.’ And he said, ‘That’s my house.'”

Craig Williams immediately contacted the photographer, Quavas Hart, to find help for his brother. Hart was able to alert a nearby Federal Emergency Management Agency rescue crew to save Chris Williams and Lana.

“You see a lot of negative things and you hear a lot of awful stuff, but the reality is there are a lot of good people in this world and if you just ask, they will do the right thing,” Chris Williams said. “This is one of those moments when humanity came together.”

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Drones and Augmented Reality -Powerful Tools when Disaster Strikes

In 2015, flooding in the United States caused $3 billion in damage and led to hundreds of deaths (US National Climatic Data Center). During a natural disaster, every tool is needed to reduce suffering and save lives. Rapid Imaging Software, Inc. recently demonstrated that video captured with a small drone equipped with Powered by SmartCam3D, augmented reality software can have a big impact on disaster relief.

Powered by SmartCam3D adds augmented reality (AR) overlays to live or recorded video, making it useful before, during and after a natural disaster. The flight was conducted by Bird’s Eye Solutions using a DJI Phantom 3 at Steuben Wisconsin on the Kickapoo River during a flood on September 24, 2016.

Augmented reality (AR) has become a household phrase due to mobile apps and games. In this application, augmented reality blends map data and other useful information onto video captured from a drone. The video may be viewed by the drone/camera operator.  However if drone video is distributed via a network, then everyone involved in relief operations can watch the video in real time.  The advantage is that augmented reality allows all users to see and agree on what is (or is not) in the video.  AR overlays assist the viewer to answer questions such as: Where am I looking?  What am I looking at?

In the critical moments after a disaster, the first concern is to save lives and assess the extent of the damage.  Equipped with a small drone and AR the pilot or camera operator can do the following:

·         Mark locations to search for survivors.

·         Scout the extent of the damage and send information about closed bridges and roads to the command center.

In the video link below, the bridge on Bridge Street is submerged, but the street name is shown as is the nearest intersection with AR overlays. Armed with this information, dispatchers can direct rescue teams via the best route. In addition, since the street is identified in the video there is no confusion about which bridge is in the view.  Emergency services can be routed efficiently and the public can be warned away from the area.

As the disaster recedes and it is time to restore services augmented reality can assist in the following ways.

·         Show locations of storm drains to be checked for debris.

·         Show Identifiers for power line poles. Poles will show in the correct location whether or they are still standing.

·         Locations of fire hydrants, gas main valves and more may show as overlays.

If drone video is recorded, it provides information for engineers, communities and city managers as they plan and prepare for future disasters. For example both ends of the bridge are marked in the video to show the extent of flooding, important information when the bridge is repaired or rebuilt.

Mike Abernathy, Founder and Director of Technology for Rapid Imaging Software notes, “I have been refining augmented technology for 23 years for a variety of uses. AR for disaster relief is an important tool and I believe it will save thousands of lives in the next decade.”

Powered by SmartCam3D augmented reality software is used with a variety of unmanned systems from: DJI drones through tactical unmanned aircraft systems.  This patented technology is cloud based and compatible with a variety of operating systems and devices.


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Drones set to give global farming a makeover

Those in the agricultural industry know how important early detection of issues with your crops is to ensuring a healthy and profitable harvest. Contact us to learn more about how our drone packages can help you monitor your crops to solve problems before they cost you money!