Welcome to the world of drones! One of the most frequently googled questions is 'What drone is the best to buy'? Just like cars, not all drones are the same, and they can be tailored to meet various business needs. Think of a drone as you would a car- there are a range of manufacturers worldwide each with their own standards and uses. Just as you wouldn’t expect the same performance from a small hatchback as you would from a rugged 4WD Ute, the same applies for drones.
Before choosing a drone, it’s crucial to consider its intended use. This will guide your purchasing decision, aiming for a system that provides predictable performance and gathers the information you require to make timely decisions in a manner that is more efficient, effective, and safer than what you currently do.
Below is a simple table below that outlines some functionality you should consider while making your decision:
|Low price point||Mid-price point||High price point||Industry Leaders|
|Size of the unit||Small||Medium||Large||Variable|
|Land base area to be covered per flight||< 5ha||5-25ha||<1000ha||> 1000ha|
|Required flight time||< 20 mins||< 40 mins||< 2hrs||> 3hrs|
|Battery life||50 charges||150 charges||>250 charges||> 250 charges|
|Battery type||LiPo||Fuel |
|Flying hours across drone lifespan||< 50||< 250||> 1000||> 2000|
|Payload (weight it can carry)||< 250gms||< 1500gms||< 30kgs||>50kgs|
|Speed across the ground||< 20 km/hr||< 45 km/hr||< 95 km/hr||>140 km/hr|
|Image type required||Basic pictures||Geolocated within 2m accuracy||Geolocated within 5cm accuracy||High quality geolocated within 5cm accuracy|
|Types of map outputs required||Nil||Authomosaic||Authomosaic and digital elevation models||High accuracy Authomosaic and digital elevation models|
|LiDAR (Light detection and ranging) sensor for accurate 3D modelling||No||No||Yes||Yes – high accuracy|
|Thermal Camera||No||No||Yes||FLIR thermal imaging|
|Laser range finder giving location of target||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Meets CASA requirements for Airspace approvals||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Drone sound output||Audible from ground||Some models built for low sound||Inaudible as low as 120m||Varies based on specs|
Remember, this table is just a guide and not a substitute for advice from manufacturers and resellers. Technology advances rapidly, so always compare your requirements with what the manufacturer can offer at different price points.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can use drones in your enterprise, check out our website for upcoming training opportunities. Note, Agskilled funding has now extended to include livestock producers alongside cotton, grains and production horticulture making it a great opportunity to come along and find out more. Happy droning!
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