Raglan company Aeronavics' unmanned aerial vehicle, or
drone, attracted a lot of attention during the Southern
Field Days at Waimumu. Photo by Yvonne O'Hara
While riding a bike about 15 months ago, spatial analyst
Neill Glover was hit by a car and seriously injured. While
recovering, he had plenty of time to think about work. That is
where his drone came in.
He bought a SkyJib-X4 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), from
Aeronavics, of Raglan, and started Geo and Spatial
Information Systems Ltd about three weeks ago.
''I prefer to call them UAVs or rotary robotics because the
word `drone' had spying and military connotations,'' Mr
He learned how to use the drone, added some features, and now
offers a farm mapping, photogrammetry (the science of taking
measurements from photographs) service and egg and bird-nest
He said the UAV took images in much finer detail than planes
or satellites. While he keeps the UAV to a maximum height of
about 400ft (low-flying aircraft are not allowed to go below
500ft), it can detect a piece of wire on the grass.
As the UAV has a gimbal, it stays upright in reasonably windy
conditions. It can travel up to about 45kmh and can fly 3km
to 4km away, although he prefers to operate it within sight.
The UAV has an infra-red camera and may be used to find
faults on pylons or wind turbines. The infra-red system could
be used for search and rescue, to pick up a missing or
injured person's body heat.
''There are huge area of untapped potential,'' he said.
- by Yvonne O'Hara