The disruptive unmanned technology is beginning to take root thanks to its rapid adoption by governments and businesses. It is a software and hardware system that enables the operation of semi or fully autonomous devices, eliminating the need for human inputs or operators. Here’s a look at different types and how each can benefit its user.
Common Types of Unmanned Technology
Drones or UAVs, short for unmanned aerial vehicles, are the best-known unmanned technology innovation — increasingly being used in agriculture, construction and mining, insurance, law enforcement, first response and rescue, and other sectors. Other examples are unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), unmanned surface vehicles (USVs), and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV).
Devices developed using unmanned technology are remotely controlled or come with pre-programmed components that enable automatic navigation or are dynamic automation systems. Artificial intelligence (AI), sensors, machine vision, object recognition, facial recognition, cloud computing, and mechatronics are some of the key elements of this technology. All these have made unmanned devices very disruptive.
AI: A computer program that can reason, learn, and act intelligently; in short, it can mimic human intelligence.
Sensors: Devices that can detect changes in an environment and respond accordingly.
Machine vision: The machine can see because of features such as videos cameras, analog-to-digital conversation (ADC), and digital signal processing (DSP).
Object recognition: An output of deep learning and machine learning algorithms, which ensures that a device can identify objects in images or videos.
Facial recognition: It recognizes a human face using biometrics — mapping facial features from a video or photograph.
Cloud computing: It is the delivery of computing services, including servers, databases, analytics, and intelligence, over the internet.
Mechatronics: It is an integration of mechanical, electric, control, and computer engineering to design high-performance systems that have smart and intelligent features.
Benefits of Unmanned Technology
The benefits of unmanned technology are plenty. It enables businesses and governments to accomplish complex tasks such as enhancing public safety, mitigating disasters, enabling scientific research, improving agriculture efficiency, and protecting the environment.
Leveraging unmanned technology, individuals and organizations can carry out their work in dangerous and hostile conditions; for example, border patrol can better protect borders, while reporters can accurately report on a wildfire from a safe distance using unmanned technology vehicles.
Devices equipped with unmanned technology also help organizations carry out rescue missions or collect data during natural disasters. For example, it can be used to monitor volcanic eruption so that its safety assessment can be done without risking one’s life. It is dangerous to do that with a manned vehicle.
The unmanned technology such as Pix4Dcloud, a cloud-based mapping software, enables efficient earthworks and construction management. It does that by helping process images and providing timeline analysis and CAD overlay.
Examples of Unmanned Technology Solutions
In collaboration with its partner, Pix4D, Westwind Computer offers several unmanned technology solutions.
Pix4Dreact: It is a 2D fast-mapping software that creates 2D maps from aerial imagery.
Pix4Dmapper: It is software that processes RGB, thermal, or multispectral images and creates 2D/3D models, orthomosaics, terrain models, and surface models.
Pix4Dsurvey: It transforms images into digital point clouds and creates engineering-ready CAD-files.
Pix4Dcapture: It is a flight planning application for drones from DJI, Parrot, and Yuneec.
Emergency Response Systems
Unmanned technology enhances emergency response systems, as it improves situational awareness while minimizing risk exposure. For example, the use of drones could allow emergency teams to quickly and safely identify and assist victims until first responders arrive on the scene. This applies in many emergency cases, including earthquakes, flood disasters, and search and rescue situations.
Reap the Benefits of Unmanned Technology
Leveraging unmanned technology, entities can push the envelop and undertake tasks that were, hitherto, considered too risky or beyond human capabilities. It also helps gather data and develop models with the highest level of precision. There is no limit to what is achievable by leveraging the power of unmanned technology.