Drones on the Job

By Colin Hubick, WSP (STAC Member Blogger)

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It was a privilege to speak at the inaugural STAC conference held in Toronto, Ontario. I spoke on the topic of commercial UAV use in the telecom industry and talked specifically about the differences between the current selection of consumer and industrial grade UAV’s. In addition we discussed briefly some Transport Canada and NAV Canada procedures and steps necessary to be a responsible safe operator.

For the majority of commercial UAV operations, a SFOC (Special Flight Operations Certificate) is required. While there does exist an exemption for commercial projects, the criteria limit potential locations significantly. So for the majority of operations, a SFOC will be required.

It was clear from listening to the other panelists and answering questions from the crowd that the use of UAV’s in the telecom industry was certainly welcome. Currently UAV’s are being utilized for visual inspections using photographs and video as the primary data, but with the addition of thermal, infrared, and other sensor and laser scanning technologies, the use of UAV’s will expand beyond these initial applications.

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As the roles of drones continue to evolve, the need to increase the reliability and redundancies as well as ensure a safe integration with maned aircraft is top priority. Already significant technological advancements are happening that will include collision avoidance, advanced power options and integration with manned aircraft airspace.

Overall the conference was wonderful to attend and the ability to talk face to face with various people about various UAV related topics and upcoming technologies was excellent. I look forward to next year’s event!

This post originally appeared on the WSP “From Field to Finish” blog. This version has been edited by STAC staff. Click here to view the original post.