In the past, the data acquisition on large scales, for a topographical survey, the gathering of agricultural information or for any other use, could require alot of time and labor. For larger surfaces, it was not rare to call upon several teams of workers, sometimes coming from different companies. The data were then more prone to the variations caused by the differences in work methods of the different teams,tools or software used and communication errors.
To use a plane is a good mean to accelerate the data acquisition. However, that proves to be very expensive and the data collected can be less precise or more difficult to analyze.
Fortunately, technological advances of the last years allowed the integration of multi-purpose and light sensors to UAVs. The use of these aircraft will be increasingly popular, thanks to the many advantages which they get:
- Only one team is necessary to use a UAV and to carry out, in a few hours, a task of several days. That reduces the cost of labor as well as the risk of errors.
- The UAV are less expensive to fly than any other manned aircraft while eliminating the risk associated with this kind of operations carried at low speed and low altitude.
- The UAV can fly low and collect more details than a manned aircraft.
- The data is collected and analyzed quickly since the operator has direct access to it.
- The UAV is easily adaptable to the user’s needs and to the operation.
These advantages explain the growing popularity of the UAVs for the gathering of technical data. In a close future, it will be almost unthinkable to carry out this kind of operation using something else than a UAV. However, in Canada, the lack of well defined standards in the designs criteria of these aircraft as well as the delays in the development of a regulation adapted to their use slow down the adoption of this new tool as advantageous as it is. The publication of the new regulation at the beginning of the next year will give us a better idea of what will happen in the future for UAVs.