TELECOMMUNICATION IN THE DAWN OF THE DRONES – A PIVOTAL APPROACH FOR CELL TOWER OPERATIONS
Telecom operators are unsurprisingly turning to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – commonly called drones – to transform their tower audits and cell tower operations. Over the past couple years, the perks of using drones for tower audits, inspections and line-of-sights operations have been recapitulated and only see growing potential. UAViation’s expertise and background with flight operations, additional to our top-of-the-line gear have been a relief for industry experts looking to use drone services in the telecom industry. Leaving no stone unturned, outlined below are the top two services UAViation has already been providing for our telecom partners and the know-hows for industry professionals about why you should be switching to UAVs as your favourite tool in the box for site operations.
Tower Audits and Inspections:
Unarguably the most marketable advantage of using drones for tower inspections has been providing a safer, less dangerous alternative to tower climbers hired for inspections. With guaranteed efficiency and safety, drones can surpass other traditional inspection methods that would otherwise take longer. The technique has proven useful for collecting video footage, photograph for risk assessment, capture images from a 360 degree point of view, create 3-D models and provide real time footage on ground during flights to get more detailed data during the inspection. Unlike other turn-of-century tech that is criticized for replacing the labour pool, UAVs instead act as a great aid to most tower climbers. They serve as a medium for detailed analysis to find the precise location and severity for any repairs that tower climbers still need to perform. Limiting the time spent on towers can limit the risk of injury for climbers, as well as they know what to expect and can save the number of trips needed to complete the job. UAViation has committed to providing these services that stretch above and beyond. Our gear is well equipped for power line inspections, and flying close to areas with electromagnetic interference. With a built in RTK (Real-Time Kinematic) the DJI M210 RTK provides a positioning and navigation system that offers resistance from strong RF/EMF interference from both power lines and radio towers. This communicates with a ground station and satellites to provide an exact real-time location of the aircraft, potentially allowing geotagging of imagery. Additionally LIDAR point clouds can also be generated for a more detailed structural analysis of the tower. Equipped with zoom cameras, thermal imaging, high megapixel imaging and video rendering, the job can be done quickly and safely.
LoS (Line of Sight) checks are carried out to confirm signal propagation between a proposed tower, sometimes a proposed site for a tower and the corresponding tie-point. Communication towers often use microwave dishes to send data from point to point which require a clear path from the proposed site to the tie-point. Several things that can affect this transmission include curvature of the earth, buildings, terrain, tree cover, other communication towers and more. These LoS inspections in telecommunications traditionally include two towers, climbers, bucket trucks, cranes, mirrors and a tremendous amount of time, trial and error. These methods not only delay construction time but are often slow, irreplicable, dangerous and cumbersome.
UAVs can condense the process to as simple as launch, point to heading, zoom and confirm LoS. No need for extensive equipment, closures and risky climbs. Additionally when there in no LoS possible for a given location, this too can be confirmed within no time. The drones can reach heights humans are incapable of with just simple tower or crane operations, and thus with a higher field of view can quickly detect obstructions. By flying laterally or vertically the drone can confirm obstacles preventing LoS within seconds and effortlessly. With our in-house app development specially designed for LoS operations, UAViation is already leading the field by providing exceptional data quickly, and often for multiple tie-points in one single inspection. Equipped with our Zenmuse Z30 sensor, we can zoom upto 30 times to deliver high quality images of LoS checks at unbeatable distances. Highly accurate geotagging in images shows clients the exact GPS coordinates where LoS was found and the height at which it is possible. Using drones for LoS are incomparable to traditional methods, allowing the drone to find LoS with several tie-points from any given location often in a single flight.
With a Canada wide operating certificate, over 1330 flights, 7 drones, 245 plus job locations and skilled pilots with upto 20 years in the aviation industry, contact us for your next job. The sky is the only limit.