Operations involving one or two drones are relatively easy to manage, and commercial ventures just starting out can often get away with “flying by the seat of their pants” when it comes to managing these operations. Scaling up, however, is a completely different story. As drone businesses grow and their fleets expand, the amount of data generated and issues to keep track of will multiply rapidly. At this point, it is often worth investing in a professional drone management software solution.
What are drone management systems used for?
Drone management systems allow organizations and businesses to easily manage a wide variety of processes relating to their operations. The software enables users to streamline operations and workflows, and provides a central repository for information as well as data gathered during drone flights.
As well as asset and data management, many software suites will also provide the ability to remotely control and monitor drones. This means that organizations can save time and money by not needing to send a pilot into the field. Automated takeoff, landing and flight may also be possible. Software solutions with this kind of functionality are particularly essential for drone businesses looking to scale up to full BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) operations.
How drone management systems can help expand your operations
Drone management systems provide a wide range of useful features that make life easier for owners, pilots, analysts and other key players in the ecosystem. These features include:
Inventory and fleet management: A good drone management software package will allow you to track every drone in the fleet, as well as essential peripherals and equipment such as batteries, ground control stations and sensors. Keeping track of components such as rotors is also highly important for maintenance programs. Some inventory management software packages include predictive maintenance, which can spot potential problems with drone systems before they become show-stoppers.
Mission logging: Detailed logs provide a historical record of all missions undertaken by the fleet, and allow performance to be tracked. This information can be essential for compliance with quality and safety standards, as well as for achieving certifications such as the FAA’s Part 107 waivers and COAs (Certificates of Authorization). Many drone management systems also provide automated functions that produce reports based on selected data, which can be presented to clients and stakeholders.
Integrated mission planning: Some drone management systems also include mission planning as part of the software suite, simplifying operations further by doing away with the need for a separate application. Mission planning software typically allows operators to define mission waypoints and lay out survey areas on a map interface. It may also incorporate other sources of information such as real-time weather data, flight authorizations, and hazard warnings.
Data collection and analysis: many drone management software tools will interface with the sensors and payloads on board the UAV, and be able to receive and store the transmitted data where it can be easily retrieved post-mission. Some systems will also provide built-in analytical capabilities that can transform the data into actionable insights.
Drone management system architectures
Drone management software may be installed on company servers and computers, and may also be cloud-based, providing the ability to access information from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. It may be provided as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform, allowing organizations to pay according to the size of their drone fleet or the features required, and scale up as their operations grow.
Cloud-based drone management systems provide a number of advantages over traditional client-server solutions. In addition to providing increased flexibility and convenience, they also allow companies to take advantage of large amounts of storage space and processing power without needing to make significant investments in computing hardware. This may be particularly important for use cases that generate high volumes of data or that require extremely compute-intensive and AI-powered processing to achieve the final deliverables.
Implementing drone management system technology
In order to take full advantage of the potential offered by drone management systems, provide connectivity between drones and users located anywhere, and enable full BVLOS operation, reliable communications are required. Internet-based solutions will enable end-to-end IP-based connectivity without the need for radio over IP (RoIP) and other conversion technologies.
Cellular 4G and 5G connectivity will allow BVLOS drones to maintain real-time connection with operators and drone management systems as long as they are within range of a cell tower. For applications requiring low latency and high bandwidth, 5G is particularly suitable, providing data speeds that are up to 10 times faster than 4G, with latency as low at 1 millisecond.
Drone connectivity and cloud management with Elsight
Elsight’s Halo is a connectivity solution for BVLOS drones that leverages the power of cellular bonding to provide rock-solid 4G and 5G communications links. The compact, lightweight, and low-power hardware can accept up to four SIM cards from the same or multiple providers, and can seamlessly switch between all available links to provide critical redundancy or aggregate the links together to maximize the available bandwidth.
Elsight also provides a revolutionary cloud-based drone management solution for all partners and users of the Halo solution. AllSight ensures optimal and efficient management and control of BVLOS drone fleets, enabling users to track performance and monitor the connectivity status of all Halo-equipped UAVs.
Both Halo and AllSight have been developed with safety and security foremost in mind, providing powerful encryption that protects your sensitive data and makes it easy to comply with regulatory requirements.
To find out more about the Halo drone connectivity solution and AllSight cloud management platform, please get in touch!