FAQ

So what are drones anyway? – Drones are essentially remote control aircraft with various items attached to them to serve a certain purpose…cameras are most common but surveying equipment, GPS devices and other kinds of equipment are becoming more common. some people fly for fun, other people fly for industry.

Doesn’t the military use drones? Are you a military contractor? – No, we’re not a military contractor and yes, the military uses all sorts of drones but the most familiar to people are the predator and reaper drones. The drones you’re hearing about in the US are not those kind of drones. They’re much smaller (Reapers have a 66′ wingspan!), they don’t carry weapons, they’re basically not used for military purposes.

Does that mean they’re not dangerous? – Any flying object is inherently dangerous, even a baseball falling on your head certainly doesn’t feel good and drones move fast and have parts that move even faster (propellers can spin at 10,000+ RPM!). Float Avionics and many of ther operators take special care and have years of experience to operate these in various enviornments safely. You should have zero worries when we’re on a job for you.

What can you do with your drones? – I’ll answer with another question…what can you do with a robot? You might want to check out our list of services, but if you’ve got some more detailed questions about what we can do, feel free to contact us!

I’ve heard we shouldn’t call them drones? – Ya some people in the drone/UAV/sUAS/quadcopter/multirotor/RC-Aircraft community don’t always see eye to eye. The main artument seems to be that people associate the term drone with their military counterparts. We don’t see it that way: drone is the most common term that people know to refer to these machines and we don’t see any harm in using that term.

Sounds expensive, is it expensive? – I wouldn’t call it cheap but at the same time, we can accomplish more work, more accurately, more affordable in less time so in basically all of our various services, we’re saving our clients money by increasing their productivity by doing what they previously had to do by hand or by helicopter and much cheaper. Oil, Natural Gas, Renewable energy sources, construction and architectural professionals, engineers of all types, farmers and ranchers, public utilities, insurance companies, even real estate agents can benefit from our services. Contact us and we can talk about how we can save you in your field.

What sort of equipment do you use? – We’ve got all sorts of goodies and drones able to carry those goodies around…smaller quadrotor copters and larger eight rotor copters do the majority of lifting of things like – LiDAR equipment (laser measurement tools), agricultural cameras, (showing a visible health of plant life), infrared cameras, traditional and 3D mapping cameras, radio transmitters for rebroadcasting signals, Ultra High Definition (4k resolution) video cameras…and more!

Vocabulary

Drone

A common term that often refers to an unmanned aerial vehicle. Some use the term for any unmanned or RC system, though most often it refers to systems that fly.

The basic components that make up a drone are

  • Propellers that provide lift as they spin to maneuver the craft
  • Motors that spin the propellers. Older models have been powered by combustible fuels, modern motors are powered by electricity
  • A means of getting the power source to the motors
  • An onboard means of controlling the drone, causing it to move up/down, side to side, etc.
  • A radio receiver that can ‘hear’ a transmitter in the possession of the pilot, relaying controls wirelessly to the drone.

UAV/UAS/sUAS

These are synonymous terms that people substitute for ‘drone’.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle/Systems are drones, many people simply prefer to use these terms to describe the craft. Some terms, such as quadcopter or octocopter, refer to the number of propellers that a drone/UAV/UAS has.

The Cloud

While is sounds really fancy, it’s really not. The cloud typically refers to the Internet, more specifically a place where you keep things. Imagine a magical filing cabinet that fit in your pocket and held anything important that you might want to keep near you. The cloud is essentially a digital version of that, a place where your files are waiting for you.

LiDAR

LiDAR is a type of sensor that basically works by emitting a laser light in various directions and measures the reflection or return of that light to it’s source.

This allows the sensor to create 3d digital maps of it’s environment with laser accurate data. You can watch this quick video  (NOT a Float Production) or you might want to check out the wikipedia page

Photogrammetry

Photogrammetry is essentially the process of gathering measurements from photography. Computer software takes a significant number of pictures that the user inputs and uses the data to create 2d flat maps or 3d maps.

This video, although more focused on the criminal investigation aspects, gives a basic breakdown of how the process works