LTE-Connected Drones Aerially Mapped 7.5 Miles of Germany’s Autobahn

The Drive, by Marco Margaritoff,

German construction giant Strabag just flew drones beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS) above the Autobahn in Halle, Germany to aerially map the air corridor along the highway using UAV company Microdrones’ mdMapper1000DG surveying software, according to the Microdrones press release. BVLOS flights in Germany are authorized and conducted more easily than in the U.S., due to the relationship between the country’s national air traffic control and Germany’s ubiquitous Deutsche Telekom cellular provider.

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Wall Street Journal, Kim S. Nash, September 19, 2018

Wall Street Journal, Kim S. Nash, September 19, 2018

Companies are finding more uses for unmanned aerial vehicles as drone technology and video analytics tools improve. A prime goal for BNSF Railway Co. and Allstate Corp., among other firms flying drones, is to keep employees out of dangerous situations during property inspections. BNSF uses drones to inspect railway infrastructure, some high above land or built into the edges of mountains, freeing human inspectors from having to clamber over and under bridges. “Looking under a bridge with a drone – it’s much easier to do that,” said CIO Muru Murugappan. Inspectors want video to capture detail such as signs of steel degradation in places hard for a human to get to, for example. Mr. Murugappan’s technology group oversees the railroad’s drone projects, including the data analytics work on the images the machines collect. His team defines test programs, with input from business counterparts, he said. Drones also are being used by the railroad company to augment employee tasks at ground level, tackling potential crime in its train yards. Cargo theft remains a problem for U.S. railroads and BNSF’s private police unit sometimes sends up a drone to check out reports of trespassers in train yards or near track.

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These Drones And Humans Will Work Together In Hurricane Florence Recovery Efforts

Forbes, by Jennifer Kite-Powell

Drones are increasingly used by emergency organizations to quickly collect reliable data from impacted areas that are unsafe or impossible for humans and other human-crewed vehicles to reach. This data allows response crews to identify which areas require immediate assistance, facilitate search and rescue efforts for survivors and survey damage for future rebuilding and insurance purposes. 

A drone company in North Carolina, PrecisionHawk, is preparing to deploy hundreds of pilots from its drone pilot network, Droners.IO, to respond to insurance claims in the wake of Hurricane Florence the week of September 17, 2018.

“Today, insurers are increasingly using drones for asset inspections, particularly when assessing claims. With drones, insurers can gather data about asset conditions that is unprecedented in precision and objectivity,” said Michael Chasen, CEO, PrecisionHawk. “This practice is transforming the claims cycle, making it faster and safer for adjusters to observe, analyze and assess the damage associated with incidents ranging from one-off accidents to natural disasters.”

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Drone Army Will Help Utility Workers Restore Power After Hurricane Florence

Bloomberg, by Naureen S Malik

With the remnants of Hurricane Florence continuing to deluge the southeastern U.S., a small army of drones is being deployed to identify and fix damage caused by flooding. Drones can find damaged substations, even restring power lines

At least 53 drone teams have been recruited to help with damage assessment, said Brian Reil, a spokesman for Edison Electric Institute, the Washington-based industry group coordinating utility recovery efforts. Each team usually brings more than one drone and the force collectively includes about 100 to 160 operators, he said.

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The Top 7 Drone Visionaries in 7 Commercial Markets – Civil Infrastructure

Commercial UAV News, by João Antunes

Whether it’s being able to inspect a bridge from the air just as easily as from the water or addressing critical infrastructure inspections in an entirely new way, drones are clearly having a significant impact on the approach civil infrastructure organizations are able to take. Enabling success with drones in civil engineering isn’t always a simple endeavor, as many professionals still need to learn about the technology and how they can benefit from it. Luckily, various people throughout the drone space are working to realize value and profit from a drone for engineering organizations and civil infrastructure inspections and operations.

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Airbus Aerial signs DroneBase to provide on-demand low-altitude imagery

FlightGlobal, by Garrett Reim

In addition to the satellite imagery services Airbus Aerial provides, the company’s customers will now be able to request – within 48-72h – new low-altitude images from third-party drone operators hired via the DroneBase platform. “Insurers looking to quickly respond to natural disasters will be able to leverage satellites [from Airbus Aerial] to view entire cities at high resolution and analyse the damage levels within to better support their customers, while drones can view specific areas where more attention is needed,” says DroneBase. “This also has applications in utility, rail and energy companies with vast networks of infrastructure.”

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