As companies within multiple industries begin to realize the true potential of UAVs, these drones are evolving from luxury tools to necessary parts of a team.
One of the industries where this is being seen most clearly is mining – more specifically open-cast mining.
The use of drones in mining has proved to be the ideal way of discovering new areas of interest and a vital tool in the extraction process.
Vast areas can now be covered in a short space of time and new data can be made available, both of which is more vital than ever now that raw materials are in short supply and high demand.
Open-cast mining and oil production are both benefiting from the use of UAVs
As new mining sites become harder and harder to find, due to both their scarcity and the difficulty of accessing them, companies have had to rely more and more upon new techniques.
The right technology can help mining operators in areas when humans are unable to tread, and UAVs fit the bill nicely.
These compact quadcopters are able to fly into remote, perhaps even hazardous areas and locate ideal areas for further testing.
With the right equipment on board, they are able to map out key areas, provide a visual representation of an area and even collect soil samples for further analysis.
Topographical mapping provides a surface model for developers with greater detail than ever before, and it is a much more cost-effective solution. As the demand for new deposits grows, so will demand this sort of technology.
It is not just open cast mining that is seeing this rise in the use of drones. UAVs are also being utilized to great effect on oil production.
Again, it is all about a sharp rise in demand and the need to locate new resources. With these drones, companies can better monitor key areas of new development while also maintaining current sites to the best possible standards.
The drones can look at pipelines to carry out the widespread inspection in a more time-efficient manner.
Problems and leaks can be determined in a matter of hours as the UAV works along its predetermined route. From there, inspectors can move in and make quick repairs.
It is all about providing the very best air support and logistical help for a more effective performance
It can take weeks for human workers to cover the full area of a mine or oil plant, and even then there is the chance that human error or inability will lead to areas that are missed and data that cannot be generated.
UAVs can provide aerial support and cover the ground in a more efficient manner, sweeping the determined area in a short space of time and even providing tools and information for workers in certain areas.
There is even the opportunity to use these drones as medical or surveillance aids. The drone can airlift in medical supplies ahead of first responders and keep an eye on the whereabouts of workers, equipment or intruders.
Drones need to provide clear data and precise measurements
These open-cast mining UAVs are continually evolving to provide the very best information, maps, and other data.
They use top-of-the-line photogrammetric methods to map out points of interest in fine detail and help to determine the best places to continue development.
Laser scanners and GPS allow for 3D models and measurements, high-resolution cameras generate precise images of the landscape for measurements, ground plans calculations and samplers can bring back deposits to create a geological model and other projections.
The use of drones in mining is highly beneficial and is sure to develop further
The use of drones in open-cast mining and oil production clearly has a lot of potentials and, as technology continues to advance, this potential can only grow.
There are many different uses for UAVs in the discovery, extraction, and maintenance of mines and oil fields and while some companies may use them purely to locate points of interest and map out terrain, they can be used in many more scenarios.
With drones acting as air support for sample generation, mapping, maintenance, surveillance and even first aid, they are sure to prove their worth as invaluable tools.