Commercial UAV Expo

Whole Lotta Droning Going On: Commercial UAV Expo: Part 2

Continuing with my look at last month’s Commercial UAV Expo, here’s more cool UAV-related gear.

Thermal Imaging Drone
Parrot is known mostly for being a provider of consumer-level drones (full disclosure, I have three of them). Now they are moving into the commercial market. One example is the Parrot Bebop-Pro Thermal. This quadcopter includes two embedded cameras: a full HD stabilized front-facing 14 MP video camera and a FLIR ONE Pro thermal imaging camera. Three imaging thermal setting modes are available: standard, dynamic, and hotspot. Parrot’s FreeFlight Thermal app transmits and analyzes images captured by the quadcopter’s cameras while the long-range remote control, Parrot Skycontroller 2, provides control and navigation with a range of up to 2 kilometers (1.24 miles). Battery life is 25 minutes, but three batteries are included so swapping them out can expand flying operations significantly. (Full specs here.) Here’s the big news though: the cost is only $1,500. It’s like, “buy a thermal camera and get a free drone!” Applications abound: thermal inspections of buildings, solar plant inspections, search and rescue, firefighting operations, and my favorite, treasure hunting.

Precision Agriculture
While perhaps tangential to mainstream geospatial, there was a strong precision ag showing at the expo. Going back to Parrot, they introduced the Parrot Bluegrass: the firm’s first quadcopter specifically designed for agriculture. The UAS covers up to 30 hectares at 70 m/230 ft. flight altitude. Features include: Pix4Dcapture autonomous flight capability, easy data-processing with AIRINOV FIRST+ and ease of repair. While not brand new, Parrot displayed its fixed-wing platform for precision ag: the Disco-Pro Ag. It covers up to 80 hectares at 70 m/230 ft. flight altitude. Both use the Parrot Sequoïa multispectral sensor and are priced aggressively: the Bluegrass retails at $5,000 while the Disco-Pro Ag comes in at $4,499.

New Small-format UAS Multispectral Sensor
Miscasense introduced its new RedEdge-M multispectral sensor in a new, more compact form and lower price ($4,900 vs the original RedEdge’s $5195 price tag). The unit is capable of generating RGB color images aligned with five specific spectral bands. The sensor offers seamless integration across all UAV platforms, according to the manufacturer, and is post-processing-software agnostic. Agriculture analysis is provided by Atlas software.

“Whole lotta droning going on”
This is but a taste of the hundreds of products and services on display at the Commercial UAV Expo and frankly doesn’t do justice to the show. So here’s an idea: if you are interested in this space, make a point of attending next year. It’s a great way to learn about platforms, sensors, regulations, and everything UAV. Terrific networking opportunities as well. Next year’s expo will be October 1-3 and will incorporate Drone World Expo as well. See you there!

Above photo: from left, Neil Sandler, publisher, Jeff Salmon, Pangaea/Located editor, Chuck Boteler, director of sales and business development, and, of course, “the King” Elvis Presley. We told him, “Elvis you are truly the king of rock and roll!” He replied, “Thank you. Thank you very much!”

Pangaea LogoThis article appeared in xyHt‘s e-newsletter, Pangaea. We email it twice a month, and it covers a variety of unusual geospatial topics in a conversational tone. You’re welcome to subscribe to the e-newsletter here. (You’ll also receive the once-monthly Field Notes newsletter with your subscription.)

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