Flying robots seem to attract rather more media attention than their terrestrial counterparts, and these futuristic, cyberworld ‘poster-boys’ are helping to revolutionise industry’s data-acquisition strategies. Forward looking companies, attracted by the quality and economic appeal of aerial data, are increasingly turning to drones as the optimum solution across a broad range of tasks. Corporate best practice dictates that the professionalism of any UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) supplier will always be an organisation’s primary consideration, and the SteadiDrone UAV range, designed and built in Western Cape, South Africa, will have no problems on that score.
Drone Aerial Solutions
Offering a comprehensive array of retail sales, custom-design, manufacturing & development, and support services, SteadiDrone specialise in small unmanned aerial systems for commercial and industrial applications. Keeping up to speed with the latest UAV developments and related technologies is an important part of meeting customer expectations, and thus, in addition to providing flight-ready, turn-key products with pre-determined functionality, SteadiDrone’s developers and technicians are equally happy working with clients to develop custom specifications for cutting-edge applications. Though the range of potential applications seems to expand continuously, the company regularly supply aerial configurations for imaging and mapping, surveys, and inspections. During these and similar tasks, onboard equipment is usually called upon to capture high-resolution images and fly-through video, or else to provide thermal-imaging, or perhaps collate a range of data to produce a 3D model.
Workhorses for courses
SteadiDrone supply three of their own drones developed as flexible, ‘fly-out-of-the-box’ solutions ready to handle a range of common assignments. Each is available in different variants to facilitate particular types of application, and the company’s overarching philosophy is to leave relevant aspects of each machine’s specification ‘open’ enough to allow the end-user to, for example, enjoy the benefits of using the latest digital-camera technology rather than having to get by with an inferior onboard fixture.
SteadiDrone Vader UAV
Designed for the challenges of everyday industrial wear and tear, the SteadiDrone Vader is built from premium-quality materials and offers sophisticated technological functions supported by a robust framework. SteadiDrone have designed this drone to ‘fly just about anything mounted underneath or right on top of the unit’, and recommend this as the machine of choice for serious aerial professionals. Though it can pack down into a compact storage case, the Vader can nevertheless carry heavy payloads and cope with flight durations of up to 40 minutes.
The Vader has four support arms and comes in five different versions: the Standard X4 and the Standard X8 models have one and two motors per arm respectively. The Vader-M series likewise has x4 and x8 options, and in addition, each of these models features a state-of-the-art onboard MicaSense RedEdge Multispectral camera plus a stabilising gimbal – a specification optimised to meet the particular needs of agricultural applications and capable of providing data capture features of the highest quality. Lastly comes the Vader-F, with a specification designed to facilitate professional-quality video filming and aerial photography.
SteadiDrone Flare UAV
The diminutive Flare is the smallest member of SteadiDrone’s fleet and offers a nimble, ultra-compact platform suitable for capturing aerial data. Capable of carrying a range of smaller front-mounted digital cameras or sensors, the Flare can fly for up to 20 minutes and would prove invaluable in field locations were space is at a premium. Like its more illustrious SteadiDrone peers, the Flare uses GPS navigation to guarantee intelligent and accurate field deployment and to gather reliable data in all operational conditions.
Though drones are set to dominate the future in most types of commercial aerial surveying, SteadiDrone report that their aerial platforms have also been charged with accomplishing a number of more down to earth tasks. Some clients, for example, have reported that drones have proved ideal for ‘chasing birds off airport runways’, and ‘delivering Pizza and beer!’
SteadiDrone Mavrik UAV
SteadiDrone describe their Mavrik drone as ‘the most affordable high quality medium lift sUAS (small unmanned airborne system) available today, or tomorrow’. Designed with a fully adjustable, rail-supported gimbal driven by a brushless motor, the Mavrik is capable of deploying a broad range of front-mounted cameras, sensors, or other payloads, and can be vertically oriented up to an angle of 90 degrees.
The Mavrik can be used as a workaday aerial platform which is fully portable, and very quick and easy to assemble. Like its Vader stablemate, the SteadiDrone Mavrik is also available in different versions: two Standard models, respectively featuring an X4 and X8 complement of motors, and in each case benefitting from an ‘open’ specification which allows the flying of a variety of cameras. In addition, a pair of ‘M’ series Mavriks – the MX4 and the MX8 – each come equipped with a MicaSense RedEdge Multispectral camera, once again to meet the needs of aerial agricultural inspections and similar applications.