The rise of drone technology

The future of drone technology

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In the past, the remote - controlled aircraft known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or drones, were typically used by government agencies for military applications. Recently, drones have become available to the general public on a large scale, which has resulted in numerous opportunities in the commercial world.

Drones provide aerial, first-person views via an onboard camera . They are used largely to take photographs, inspect critical infrastructure, respond to emergencies, survey construction and monitor weather. The condominium industry has also identified numerou s applications for unmanned aircrafts.

The technology makes it possible to inspect sloped roofs and overhangs, which are not easily accessible, up close, safely from ground level, decreasing risk for both the building owner and UAV operator. Likewise, it can be used to routinely inspect and monitor flat roofs for maintenance to prevent water damage to interiors.

Similarly, drones make it possible to inspec t building envelopes, including caulking, windows, walls and balconies, closely and with ease from ground level, rather than requiring the use of a suspended stage. Plus, they provide real-time information on the operational status of antennas, chimneys, plumbing stacks, vents and mechanical units.

The technology lets building owners or property managers see inspections first hand. Following inspections, they get information including real-time photos and videos, layout diagrams and a detailed report with findings and recommendations.

UAV can also be used to survey remote properties and land for development and site planning. This type of high-altitude aerial survey is commonly used to prepare projects and monitor progress. Monitoring ongoing condominium projects via drones can improve quality control and productivity.

Not only can drones can be used to monitor large construction projects, but also revitalization projects, such as roof replacement, to ensur e they comply with project specifications. What's more, operational managers are able to remotely monitor sites to confirm ail safety procedures are in place.

Post-construction, UAV eliminate the need to use manned aircraft to capture high-resolution aerial photography and videos for real estate sales and marketing. Additionally, in new condominium construction, the technology makes it possible to present potential customers wit h 3D building elevation layouts, along with the view of a particular suite, before a building is erected. The benefits of using drones are many.

The aerial inspections or property surveys that used to require a manned aircraft can now be completed with a drone. Difficult-to-reach or out-of-view areas can now be easily accessed. Also, the technology makes it possible to complete inspections more accurately and more frequently. And since it reports real-time information, building owners or managers can immediately set in motion necessary repairs or maintenance. Drones can contribute significantly to quality assurance, building monitoring and risk management.

Given the benefits of using drones, it's no surprise that Transport Canada has noticed increased demand to operate UAV for both commercial and recreational purposes. As a result, it has introduced regulations to ensure these activities comply with national aviation authorities and the safety of the airspace.

Today's regulations make it difficult to legally operate a UAV for commercial use, especially in built-up areas. Operators must obtain a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) and document correct safety protocols, training and certification before any work is authorized to begin.

Drones have numerous applications and benefits in the commercial world, including in the condominium industry. However, with Transport Canada's strict enforcement, it is imperative for those who wish to take advantage of the technology to engage a trained UAV operator that complies with federal regulations.