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Drones, UAV’s or whatever you want to call them

In my previous life as an international airline pilot, that name had only bad connotations. I had seen friends and colleagues “playing” with them, and on more than one occasion had my flights delayed due to airspace closures resulting from drones operating illegally in the vicinity of the airport. I can’t say that I considered them more than toys and a nuisance.

Then I met my friend Brett, who is a self confessed techno junkie, and he happens to own a drone. To be honest I wasn’t surprised, because he loves everything that could even remotely be considered to be a high tech gizmo of some sort. And no, I didn’t hold it against him, although I did roll my eyes a bit when I found out. Through Brett’s enthusiasm for all things tech, and our many discussions about the subject, I discovered a whole new world I didn’t even know existed.

Drones have developed well beyond the toys they started out as. A few innovative companies realised the potential for utilising these nimble, stable and cost effective platforms, equipped with cutting edge technology, to revolutionise the way images and data are captured in many different industries. From mapping and surveying, to crop monitoring and pest control, the applications are infinite. With the development of specialised software to process the high quality images and data produced by the onboard systems on the drone, the results are quite spectacular. Surveys can be conducted with measurements within a few centimetres accuracy. Infra-red and multi-spectrum cameras are used for crop health, pest control and surveillance. Lazer technology has recently been introduced to be able to carry out very accurate surveys, and penetrate through overhanging vegetation to reveal what the lay of the land is below.

Every day we discover a new application for this technology, and this got my attention more than anything else. The capabilities of the technology is advancing in tandem with computer science, which opens up more and more opportunities. In the right hands, drones are cost effective and safe to operate in situations where utilising manpower would be expensive and, in some environments, dangerous. As I said, a whole new and exciting world!

With all this potential, and my background in aviation, it was a “no brainer.” I had to get involved. Needless to say, Brett did not take much convincing, and so here we are, Commercial Drones NZ!

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