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Lyceum 2021 | Together Towards Tomorrow

As drones and survey instruments become lighter and batteries become stronger, innovative ways to apply drone technology is evolving rapidly.

This panel will discuss how drones are evolving the way we explore from resource exploration, to agriculture, to transportation asset monitoring, and a myriad of other applications.

Overview

Speakers

Helen McCreary
UAS Program Analyst, Ohio UAS Center

Matthew Nanney
Mobile Technology & Remote Sensing Manager, AECOM

Bart Hoekstra
Vice President, Geophysical Sales, Geometrics, Inc.

Troy Mestler
CEO, Skyfront Corp

Facilitator: Rina Hartmann
Strategic Account Executive, Seequent 

Duration

30 min

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Video transcript

[00:00:00.926]
(ethereal music)

[00:00:10.940]
On behalf of Seequent.

[00:00:12.240]
I’d like to welcome everyone to today’s panel discussion

[00:00:15.560]
on drones and how drones are evolving

[00:00:18.330]
the way we explore the earth.

[00:00:20.950]
My name is Rina Hartmann

[00:00:22.750]
and I’m the Strategic Account Executive

[00:00:25.040]
for Seequent North America.

[00:00:27.380]
As facilitator for today’s panel discussion.

[00:00:30.420]
I’m excited to welcome our panel experts.

[00:00:33.600]
We have Bart Hoekstra,

[00:00:35.520]
Vice President Geophysical Sales Geometrics Inc.

[00:00:40.000]
Helen McCreary, UAS Program Analyst,

[00:00:43.240]
Ohio UAS Center,

[00:00:45.790]
and Troy Mestler, CEO of Skyfront.

[00:00:49.940]
Thank you all for joining us

[00:00:51.560]
to share your expertise and insights.

[00:00:55.080]
Today, we will discuss how drones are evolving,

[00:00:57.910]
the way we collect information

[00:00:59.700]
and the different applications

[00:01:01.170]
for which they can be useful.

[00:01:03.700]
Originally developed in the 20th century

[00:01:05.970]
for military use,

[00:01:07.460]
today, drones are used for a variety of applications,

[00:01:10.440]
such as resource exploration, transportation,

[00:01:14.229]
asset monitoring, agriculture among others.

[00:01:17.938]
As drones and survey instruments become lighter

[00:01:21.190]
and batteries become stronger,

[00:01:23.380]
innovative ways to apply drone technology

[00:01:26.170]
is evolving rapidly.

[00:01:28.580]
Before we launch into the discussion,

[00:01:30.620]
I’d like to ask each of you to tell us

[00:01:33.100]
a little bit more about yourselves

[00:01:34.970]
and your experiences for these topic areas.

[00:01:38.460]
We’ll start with Bart.

[00:01:41.880]
<v ->Hi, I’m Bart Hoekstra.</v>

[00:01:43.590]
I’ve been a geophysical consultant for well over 20 years.

[00:01:50.792]
And I am now Vice President of Geometrics,

[00:01:54.630]
where we manufacture the MagArrow,

[00:01:57.330]
which is a technology designed

[00:02:00.510]
to do magnetic surveys from drones.

[00:02:06.030]
<v ->Thank you, Bart.</v>

[00:02:07.839]
And how about you Helen?

[00:02:10.330]
<v ->Hi everyone, I’m Helen.</v>

[00:02:12.480]
I got my master’s degree in near-surface geophysics

[00:02:15.450]
for archeology,

[00:02:16.910]
and I started flying drones about four or five years ago.

[00:02:20.340]
And I now work for the Ohio UAS center.

[00:02:23.510]
I am the UAS program analyst.

[00:02:25.760]
I deal with most of the geophysical sensors that we have.

[00:02:32.970]
<v ->Thanks, Helen.</v>

[00:02:34.020]
And Troy.

[00:02:36.450]
<v ->Hi everybody.</v>

[00:02:37.283]
My name is Troy Mestler and I’m the CEO of Skyfront.

[00:02:42.030]
We are a manufacturer of long endurance multi-rotor drones

[00:02:47.190]
that are hybrid electrics.

[00:02:48.380]
So we use gasoline and we convert it

[00:02:49.890]
into electricity in flight.

[00:02:51.630]
And our platforms which are called

[00:02:53.780]
the Perimeter series of UAVs

[00:02:57.440]
can fly for upwards of five hours

[00:03:00.620]
and carry all sorts of different payloads,

[00:03:02.850]
everything from LiDARS to magnetometers,

[00:03:04.780]
and a lot of the sensors

[00:03:05.980]
that are relevant to this discussion today.

[00:03:09.160]
A few months ago, we actually set the World Record

[00:03:11.490]
for drone flight time.

[00:03:12.650]
We actually flew the aircraft for about 13 hours

[00:03:15.760]
and we captured the sunrise and the sunset in one in one go

[00:03:20.840]
and that’s never been done before.

[00:03:22.510]
And that type of technology that we’re developing

[00:03:25.260]
can really be very useful in the geophysical sciences.

[00:03:33.240]
<v ->Thanks so much Troy.</v>

[00:03:34.210]
Sounds exciting.

[00:03:36.230]
For those of you who are newer to drones

[00:03:38.370]
we will use the terms, drones and UAV,

[00:03:42.180]
unmanned aerial vehicles interchangeably.

[00:03:45.270]
These define an aircraft without any human pilot on board.

[00:03:49.360]
These can also be a part of UAS unmanned aircraft system,

[00:03:54.750]
including a system of communications with the UAV.

[00:03:58.520]
Drones have become an integral part

[00:04:00.530]
of so many different types of projects.

[00:04:03.490]
Today they carry a variety of sensors.

[00:04:06.520]
They are slowly replacing hard to reach ground surveys

[00:04:10.100]
or costly manned helicopter surveys.

[00:04:13.540]
What are the benefits and what are the challenges

[00:04:16.110]
we face today?

[00:04:17.400]
Let’s hear from our experts.

[00:04:20.800]
The first question I have is,

[00:04:23.340]
why are AVS becoming such a big part

[00:04:26.670]
of the way we explore our planet?

[00:04:29.120]
Bart, can you answer that one?

[00:04:32.290]
<v ->Well, I think you hit on a couple of points already.</v>

[00:04:35.750]
And one is traditionally, we like to do geophysics

[00:04:39.390]
in areas that are hard to reach by foot.

[00:04:42.670]
And so being able to fly over them

[00:04:46.520]
greatly increases our site access.

[00:04:48.700]
For instance, in a lot of areas

[00:04:51.070]
where you’re doing archeology or UXO surveys

[00:04:55.831]
in Europe,

[00:04:56.760]
you don’t have access to the fields

[00:05:00.770]
because of crops that are being planted

[00:05:02.970]
in drones allow you to fly over those

[00:05:06.070]
and not disturb the ground.

[00:05:10.220]
I think also just in general,

[00:05:12.580]
the costs of doing these types of surveys

[00:05:15.460]
is so much less than manned aircraft.

[00:05:17.760]
And additionally, it’s a lot safer

[00:05:19.920]
because we like to do geophysics low and slow.

[00:05:24.010]
And that’s not always the best way

[00:05:26.130]
that manned aircraft like to fly.

[00:05:28.770]
<v ->Helen, what are the benefits of drone surveys</v>

[00:05:31.980]
in your projects?

[00:05:35.380]
<v ->We wouldn’t be able to do our projects</v>

[00:05:37.140]
if we didn’t have drones.

[00:05:38.530]
I’m not a pilot.

[00:05:39.870]
None of, well, actually one of my colleagues

[00:05:41.560]
is a real pilot.

[00:05:43.609]
But I am, I fly drones.

[00:05:45.280]
I don’t fly helicopters or planes.

[00:05:49.299]
So as Bart said

[00:05:51.517]
we’re flying all the time.

[00:05:54.350]
Our primary drone right now is an M600

[00:05:57.290]
and we use the MagArrow and we’re flying really hilly areas

[00:06:02.520]
down in the south of Ohio.

[00:06:05.190]
Areas that it would be impossible,

[00:06:06.810]
it would actually be impossible to fly with a helicopter.

[00:06:09.410]
You can’t get down into the valley

[00:06:11.750]
and then back up the hill.

[00:06:14.735]
And so the only way you can do it is with a drone.

[00:06:17.350]
We’re looking for abandoned oil and gas,

[00:06:20.020]
well heads that are leaking stuff into the environment.

[00:06:23.780]
So they need to be found.

[00:06:24.890]
They need to be capped and they all need to be found.

[00:06:27.610]
Otherwise you cap some of them, and they,

[00:06:30.400]
the rest of them keep leaking

[00:06:32.150]
and burst into flame and stuff.

[00:06:33.620]
It’s bad.

[00:06:35.250]
So there are just a lot of applications

[00:06:37.420]
where if you don’t have a drone,

[00:06:38.980]
it’s actually impossible to do it,

[00:06:41.372]
especially because we have to fly so low.

[00:06:45.550]
For archeology, sometimes as Bart said again,

[00:06:50.340]
it’s actually better to put the sensor on a drone

[00:06:53.790]
than it is a ground sensor

[00:06:55.730]
mostly to do with

[00:06:58.070]
if the ground is very, is variable.

[00:07:00.150]
If there’s like old corn stock or something,

[00:07:03.110]
and it would make a cart bounce around a whole bunch

[00:07:08.410]
and you don’t get that with a drone,

[00:07:09.490]
you can actually fly really steadily,

[00:07:11.750]
especially if you have an altimeter or something.

[00:07:14.380]
So we have a GPR

[00:07:18.741]
that, you know,

[00:07:19.574]
you lose penetration when you put it on a drone,

[00:07:21.810]
but you can actually get steadier data

[00:07:25.570]
than you could if it was on a cart

[00:07:27.460]
sometimes under certain conditions.

[00:07:30.720]
So yeah, lots of benefits to drones.

[00:07:36.450]
<v ->Thanks, Helen.</v>

[00:07:37.283]
Yeah, that definitely is a lot of benefits.

[00:07:41.390]
Another question I have was on the topic of regulations,

[00:07:45.330]
do you see the regulations around the use of drones

[00:07:48.170]
being relaxed or standardized

[00:07:50.150]
and how would this impact projects,

[00:07:52.880]
Troy, perhaps you can touch upon those?

[00:07:56.950]
<v ->Sure. I’d be glad to.</v>

[00:07:58.990]
So first let me define what the regulations

[00:08:00.990]
around drones are and what the main ones are.

[00:08:04.450]
So the main regulation

[00:08:05.430]
hampering, the use of drones is what people call

[00:08:07.960]
the BVLOS or beyond visual line of sight restriction,

[00:08:12.960]
which is a restriction or regulation imposed by the FAA

[00:08:16.630]
that says that the operator of the drone,

[00:08:20.110]
the pilot of the drone has to be within line of sight

[00:08:22.540]
of the drone at all time.

[00:08:23.460]
They have to be able to see it.

[00:08:25.300]
And, you know, the true promise of drone technology

[00:08:29.930]
is really being able to operate

[00:08:33.333]
outside of the vision

[00:08:35.300]
of a human being, right?

[00:08:37.606]
So being able to operate in areas that a human can’t access

[00:08:42.414]
and very far away.

[00:08:43.984]
So, you know, beyond visual line of sight

[00:08:45.610]
really restricts a drone.

[00:08:47.700]
Drones use to within about a mile of where it took off from.

[00:08:51.350]
So it kind of limits the amount of area

[00:08:53.320]
that can be covered during a flight.

[00:08:57.336]
And so, you know, to answer your question, yeah, absolutely.

[00:09:03.323]
You know, this we believe,

[00:09:05.550]
and we know that the FAA is working on ways

[00:09:08.490]
to relax this beyond visual line of sight restriction

[00:09:11.890]
so that, you know, and there’s a,

[00:09:14.380]
there’s a thing called the part 135 certification,

[00:09:16.960]
which is basically a way to certify a drone

[00:09:19.690]
as though it were a manned aircraft

[00:09:22.640]
so that it can operate safely,

[00:09:24.780]
you know, many miles away from the operator.

[00:09:28.634]
And when this restriction is relaxed,

[00:09:30.330]
it will allow operators to cover hundreds,

[00:09:34.430]
if not thousands of acres, you know, in a single flight.

[00:09:38.020]
And that’s when the true economic

[00:09:41.020]
and technological potential of drones will be realized.

[00:09:44.730]
And so we are big believers in that

[00:09:48.210]
and we see the FAA moving in that direction.

[00:09:54.890]
<v ->Thanks Troy, for that insight.</v>

[00:09:56.780]
We have some things to look forward to in the future.

[00:10:01.680]
In addition to magnetic and LiDAR surveys,

[00:10:04.910]
we see other types of sensors emerging,

[00:10:07.520]
such as radiometrics, electromagnetics,

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and more recently, even gravity sensors.

[00:10:13.730]
In your opinion, are they commercially viable?

[00:10:16.720]
And if not, when do you foresee them

[00:10:18.940]
becoming commercially practical?

[00:10:22.910]
Helen, if you can answer that one, perhaps?

[00:10:27.030]
<v ->So I’ve never used a gravity sensor,</v>

[00:10:29.740]
so I can’t really speak to that,

[00:10:31.040]
but I have used EM before

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I’ve used a ground-based EM,

[00:10:35.951]
I know that they’re testing it on drones.

[00:10:39.290]
I’d be interested to see the data

[00:10:42.160]
seeing as it’s an active method,

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you’re literally inducing a current in the ground.

[00:10:49.200]
I don’t foresee it being that useful on a drone,

[00:10:53.040]
but you’d have to fly really, really low,

[00:10:56.460]
so low that you might as well just walk around with it.

[00:10:59.960]
But again, as I said, sometimes, you know,

[00:11:03.590]
you get benefits even if you are flying it super low.

[00:11:08.463]
So as for commercially viable.

[00:11:10.320]
So right now we have mag, we have GPR,

[00:11:15.010]
we have LiDAR,

[00:11:16.580]
we have a gamma radiation sensor,

[00:11:19.250]
a new gamma radiation sensor that we’re using

[00:11:21.270]
with the department of health.

[00:11:23.540]
All these have a lot of applications that we’re exploring,

[00:11:27.550]
especially the radiation sensor

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that will keep people out of harm’s way.

[00:11:34.121]
We’ll be able to fly over a,

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like a rubbish heap for example,

[00:11:40.680]
and find abandoned radiation sources,

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which are surprisingly common apparently.

[00:11:47.670]
So, and be able to find things

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where before a human being would have to walk around

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this rubbish heap for hours, hours, and hours

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looking for stuff.

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So there is a lot of these sensors

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are going to be commercially viable.

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It’s just a question of getting them right.

[00:12:05.580]
And then learning how to use them

[00:12:07.580]
and learning how to deal with the data.

[00:12:09.240]
That’s a big one is like

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sometimes the data comes out

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and it looks like poop.

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So you need to,

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you need to figure out how to make it not look like poop,

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which is a big, a big challenge.

[00:12:25.250]
<v ->Certainly some challenges. Bart,</v>

[00:12:26.950]
did you have any other insight on there?

[00:12:28.930]
That you want to add?

[00:12:29.763]
<v ->I just wanted to add some things about EM surveys</v>

[00:12:32.453]
that we’re starting to see

[00:12:33.940]
and that there may be room for things like

[00:12:39.030]
I guess, combined land

[00:12:43.015]
and drone-based measurements

[00:12:45.420]
by putting out large loops

[00:12:48.350]
to generate EM current

[00:12:49.930]
and then measuring them from drones.

[00:12:53.876]
And, you know, there may be some potential there

[00:12:56.120]
to do general exploration and things like that.

[00:13:00.930]
You know, some of the requirements really

[00:13:03.840]
are going to be things like

[00:13:05.140]
how well can you position your drone

[00:13:07.430]
and get the motion of that drone

[00:13:10.010]
because that can induce noise into the systems

[00:13:13.720]
and cause some of the situations

[00:13:16.170]
that Helen just discussed.

[00:13:20.470]
<v ->Yes. I think that there’s definitely some challenges</v>

[00:13:23.850]
and things to work towards.

[00:13:26.920]
My next question.

[00:13:28.060]
I’ll direct it, Troy,

[00:13:30.490]
if what are the challenges as we talk about challenges,

[00:13:33.550]
what are the challenges we still face with drone surveys

[00:13:36.970]
from your perspective?

[00:13:39.479]
And if you’d like, you can suggest improvements

[00:13:43.260]
if there are any.

[00:13:44.440]
<v ->Sure. Yes, so up until recently,</v>

[00:13:47.070]
I think the biggest challenge was endurance.

[00:13:52.700]
You know, so I don’t know if people are familiar,

[00:13:55.940]
but drones used to be able to fly for 20 to 30 minutes.

[00:14:01.662]
And that really limited the extent

[00:14:06.400]
the area to which that

[00:14:09.000]
an operator could cover

[00:14:11.420]
during a day. Right?

[00:14:14.332]
And you know, what our company

[00:14:15.165]
really was

[00:14:17.700]
we set out to do

[00:14:18.533]
was to solve the endurance issue.

[00:14:19.610]
So we’ve been able to crack that

[00:14:22.569]
and, you know, provide aircraft

[00:14:23.402]
that can carry magnetic sensors

[00:14:25.280]
for upwards of three to four hours.

[00:14:29.550]
So the problems that still remain now

[00:14:32.776]
are more software-based

[00:14:35.749]
and autonomy-based.

[00:14:36.920]
So I think the main challenge

[00:14:38.090]
is really is autonomy and making sure

[00:14:40.540]
that the object does not crash into people,

[00:14:44.630]
property, or even other aircraft

[00:14:46.810]
when it is operating autonomously

[00:14:49.460]
beyond visual line of sight.

[00:14:51.150]
And this is really a sensor and a software problem.

[00:14:55.177]
So, you know, what we’re doing here at Skyfront

[00:14:56.690]
is we’re equipping our UAVs

[00:14:58.850]
with forward-facing radars,

[00:15:01.230]
with collision avoidance

[00:15:03.290]
detect and avoid sensors,

[00:15:05.110]
things that detect aircraft in the area,

[00:15:07.600]
and then issue commands to the aircraft to avoid

[00:15:09.630]
those aircraft.

[00:15:11.880]
We do things like terrain following, right?

[00:15:14.470]
So we’ll put a radar altimeter

[00:15:16.580]
on the bottom of the aircraft

[00:15:18.717]
and using the readings from that

[00:15:20.350]
from that radar, we were able to go up and down

[00:15:23.410]
steep terrain without hitting

[00:15:25.576]
the, you know, a mountain or without hitting the terrain.

[00:15:30.700]
And so, you know the, the kind of the,

[00:15:35.160]
all of these technologies together

[00:15:38.197]
are some of the remaining challenges

[00:15:40.420]
that they need to be put together well,

[00:15:41.900]
and they need to be packaged up

[00:15:43.840]
in a seamless solution for the end user

[00:15:46.270]
so that they can just send the drone out

[00:15:48.922]
and be in rest assured

[00:15:49.755]
that they’re not going to,

[00:15:50.588]
that it’s not going to hit anything.

[00:15:52.290]
It’s still relatively early days there

[00:15:56.098]
but you know, certainly our company,

[00:15:58.910]
as well as some other companies

[00:16:00.920]
are making a lot of inroads into that area.

[00:16:05.560]
<v ->That’s fantastic. Nice to see.</v>

[00:16:07.437]
And Bart, did you have any other comments there?

[00:16:11.090]
<v ->Yeah. Troy, I wanted to ask a little bit, you know,</v>

[00:16:13.400]
when we talk about other geophysical technologies

[00:16:16.380]
like EM or radar

[00:16:19.710]
we need a lot of power

[00:16:21.320]
in our transmitters, perhaps.

[00:16:24.690]
And do you see any advances in that

[00:16:27.577]
being for the drone to be able to supply

[00:16:30.850]
more power to our equipment?

[00:16:35.455]
<v ->Yes. So our aircraft is actually capable of generating</v>

[00:16:40.920]
what I would call a lot of power.

[00:16:42.430]
So up to about 150 Watts.

[00:16:45.950]
And if you make the power pulsed, right?

[00:16:48.650]
Which is what I think would happen

[00:16:50.110]
if you were doing an EM,

[00:16:52.680]
electromagnetic survey with an active sensor

[00:16:56.120]
you can generate a lot more power than that, right?

[00:16:58.230]
Because it’s only happening for,

[00:16:59.800]
the impulse of the power is only happening

[00:17:01.570]
for a short period of time.

[00:17:03.919]
And the peak power can be provided

[00:17:06.280]
using a battery

[00:17:08.702]
or an ultra capacitor.

[00:17:11.390]
So yes, our aircraft can certainly provide,

[00:17:16.196]
that power

[00:17:20.628]
and there are ways

[00:17:21.461]
there are techniques too, that one can use

[00:17:24.410]
if that amount of power is not enough.

[00:17:26.620]
You know, for example, like I mentioned,

[00:17:28.590]
using something that’s pulsed.

[00:17:31.420]
<v ->Thanks so much, Troy.</v>

[00:17:32.397]
That’s a really, really great information.

[00:17:35.640]
Appreciate that.

[00:17:38.100]
Another question I have, perhaps I’ll ask Bart,

[00:17:41.260]
I’ll ask you that question.

[00:17:42.570]
With drone geophysics technology,

[00:17:44.900]
being a well-established, cost-effective survey method

[00:17:48.340]
in areas like mining and minerals

[00:17:52.293]
and other areas of use,

[00:17:54.180]
how do you see it being used in other sectors?

[00:18:00.220]
<v ->Yeah, I think one of the biggest growth sectors</v>

[00:18:03.370]
is going to be

[00:18:06.600]
the use in UXO,

[00:18:08.530]
because I think the, as Troy mentioned,

[00:18:12.090]
the ability to drape drain very closely,

[00:18:16.974]
I think is very important.

[00:18:20.011]
And, and so we’ll see that I think

[00:18:22.320]
as positioning gets better,

[00:18:24.200]
I’m sort of interested in the idea

[00:18:25.950]
of flying swarms of,

[00:18:28.930]
or one or more drones

[00:18:31.550]
and seeing if we can start getting

[00:18:33.250]
useful gradient measurements

[00:18:35.320]
from some of our systems

[00:18:38.763]
and EM sensors

[00:18:40.050]
and possibly flying

[00:18:41.939]
larger arrays

[00:18:43.660]
like a big EM loop or something like that.

[00:18:47.560]
So I would like,

[00:18:48.890]
I think those will be a lot of potential.

[00:18:50.760]
I think then

[00:18:55.004]
as regulations relax

[00:18:56.750]
or we have the ability

[00:19:00.760]
to fly

[00:19:01.610]
in more urban areas,

[00:19:02.980]
I think the whole use of drones

[00:19:06.400]
in more urban areas where we have congestion

[00:19:09.520]
and we’re trying to find more infrastructure,

[00:19:12.290]
I think could be a big growth industry as well,

[00:19:15.800]
and become a very standard practice.

[00:19:17.750]
Anytime there’s a say,

[00:19:19.360]
a commercial real estate transaction

[00:19:21.770]
that you fly a drone survey and make sure that

[00:19:26.230]
nothing is underground that you don’t expect there to be.

[00:19:28.910]
So I think those are all areas of a lot of potential growth.

[00:19:33.030]
And then, if we can fly beyond line of sight,

[00:19:35.470]
then I think the mineral exploration side of things

[00:19:39.520]
will grow tremendously.

[00:19:42.100]
<v ->Helen, did you have any other comments on there?</v>

[00:19:46.653]
<v ->I think to add to the infrastructure piece,</v>

[00:19:49.610]
we’ve had people who are very interested in drone GPR,

[00:19:57.365]
and I’m blanking on–

[00:19:58.920]
Bathymetry,

[00:20:00.290]
to look at the profile of riverbeds

[00:20:04.950]
around bridges,

[00:20:06.470]
which is I think going to be going to be a pretty big one

[00:20:10.420]
once we can figure it out

[00:20:12.270]
and we can, the FCC currently doesn’t let

[00:20:15.480]
any GPR that isn’t 500 megahertz be on a drone,

[00:20:19.300]
but hopefully that will change.

[00:20:22.740]
And we can start doing bathymetry for environmental

[00:20:26.770]
and for infrastructure purposes.

[00:20:29.319]
So there there’s a lot of growth there also, I believe,

[00:20:32.440]
I think another important thing to note

[00:20:34.330]
about drone survey

[00:20:36.410]
is it’s not just geophysics that you get,

[00:20:39.810]
it’s the layers of data.

[00:20:42.450]
So, you know, any geophysicist will tell you

[00:20:44.590]
that you want to, ideally you want to compare

[00:20:47.770]
a couple different types of data

[00:20:49.800]
so you can compare the mag

[00:20:55.090]
to photogrammetry,

[00:20:56.240]
orthomosaic or something to see

[00:20:58.420]
if, oh, is this, a well,

[00:21:00.260]
or is this a giant pickup truck

[00:21:02.340]
that someone parked in the middle of nowhere?

[00:21:06.951]
So being able to collect multiple kinds of data

[00:21:09.520]
is also a big benefit of drones.

[00:21:11.740]
Often at the same time,

[00:21:12.860]
you can mount several sensors at the same time.

[00:21:16.310]
<v ->Thank you both.</v>

[00:21:17.700]
I really appreciate the feedback.

[00:21:19.580]
I know with unexploded ordinance and infrastructure,

[00:21:23.840]
there are so many areas that,

[00:21:25.660]
these projects can help with.

[00:21:27.150]
So I see a lot of growth potential in these areas, for sure.

[00:21:31.650]
And as we near the end of our session,

[00:21:34.090]
I want to ask, perhaps I’ll ask each of you

[00:21:37.740]
some feedback on the future.

[00:21:40.580]
Where does the future of drone geophysics lie in your eyes?

[00:21:45.400]
We can start with Bart.

[00:21:49.280]
<v ->Well, I think that there’s a huge amount of potential for,</v>

[00:21:53.930]
for the use of drones.

[00:21:56.225]
I think as we possibly improve positioning

[00:21:59.690]
to the point where even in remote areas,

[00:22:02.250]
you can get very accurate positioning,

[00:22:04.900]
enable new geophysical technologies that,

[00:22:08.610]
require ground-based type stuff now.

[00:22:13.901]
But yeah, I think,

[00:22:16.740]
we’re certainly seeing it in areas in heavy terrain

[00:22:20.070]
and mountainous terrain where it really, as Helen said,

[00:22:23.360]
it really is the only method that works.

[00:22:26.509]
And I think that will really drive

[00:22:30.365]
all kinds of new development in remote areas.

[00:22:35.260]
<v ->Definitely. Thanks, Bart.</v>

[00:22:37.400]
How about you, Helen?

[00:22:38.500]
What are your thoughts about the future?

[00:22:41.910]
<v ->There’s going to be more of it.</v>

[00:22:44.260]
Tons more.

[00:22:45.975]
I think that as people start learning

[00:22:48.810]
more about it, especially,

[00:22:51.100]
I mean the mineral

[00:22:54.205]
and oil side of things

[00:22:55.170]
I think is going to grow first,

[00:22:57.400]
but everything else is going to follow

[00:22:59.750]
environmental and all sorts of use cases.

[00:23:03.750]
So especially,

[00:23:05.550]
I think that the growth

[00:23:06.450]
is going to be driven by development

[00:23:09.560]
of new drone technology, like Skyfront

[00:23:13.354]
and the opening of BVLOS.

[00:23:14.480]
BVLOS is a big one for us.

[00:23:16.700]
A lot of our project areas

[00:23:18.480]
we have to move around all over the place

[00:23:20.880]
because we can’t see the drone.

[00:23:23.040]
So it’s going to be a,

[00:23:26.420]
there’s going to be a party

[00:23:27.460]
when we can get BVLOS.

[00:23:29.120]
I’ll just put it that way.

[00:23:30.580]
So yeah, improving drone technology.

[00:23:33.500]
We’re just going to be flying.

[00:23:39.570]
<v ->I love that.</v>

[00:23:40.403]
We all want an invite to that party.

[00:23:44.003]
<v ->You’re all invited.</v>

[00:23:46.870]
<v ->And Troy, how about you?</v>

[00:23:48.359]
What do you think is in our future?

[00:23:51.310]
<v ->Well, I think drones are the future</v>

[00:23:54.220]
of aerial data collection altogether,

[00:24:00.530]
geophysics and otherwise.

[00:24:03.825]
And the reason for that,

[00:24:04.658]
are helicopters are

[00:24:06.580]
which are their primary carrier of these types of sensors,

[00:24:12.000]
they’re expensive,

[00:24:14.737]
they’re between one and $10 million to purchase

[00:24:17.310]
and $2,000 an hour to operate.

[00:24:20.510]
And not only that, but where they have to operate

[00:24:23.540]
is often low to the ground near obstacles.

[00:24:26.960]
And there are a lot of people

[00:24:28.650]
who lose their lives every year

[00:24:30.530]
by flying helicopters in this way.

[00:24:32.940]
And drones are, they’re cheaper

[00:24:36.078]
and they don’t kill people.

[00:24:39.369]
And that’s the future of aerial data collection.

[00:24:45.297]
And, it all hinges upon obviously

[00:24:46.640]
the beyond visual line of sight regulations

[00:24:48.400]
that I mentioned earlier

[00:24:51.598]
but certainly, I think that,

[00:24:53.650]
this is,

[00:24:55.610]
the future

[00:24:57.369]
and I would also bring up the parallel.

[00:25:01.099]
That’s happened in the military over the last 30 years.

[00:25:04.430]
And really actually since World War Two, right?

[00:25:08.820]
There’s been an increasing reliance on things that fly

[00:25:12.520]
and that things that operate autonomously

[00:25:15.010]
without a pilot inside of them,

[00:25:17.480]
everything from missiles to jet fighters

[00:25:20.440]
to now, surveillance like the

[00:25:24.830]
surveillance platforms,

[00:25:26.320]
like the Predator and the Reaper.

[00:25:29.779]
And so when you look at that

[00:25:31.010]
and what has happened in the military

[00:25:33.040]
over that time period,

[00:25:34.890]
the same thing is going to happen

[00:25:36.210]
in the commercial sector as well.

[00:25:39.379]
And we are eagerly awaiting that

[00:25:40.800]
and we’re prepared for it when that time comes.

[00:25:44.230]
<v ->Thanks, Troy.</v>

[00:25:45.280]
This has been and some pretty incredible insight

[00:25:48.370]
from all three of you.

[00:25:50.835]
And as we wrap up,

[00:25:52.600]
I want to open it up to any thoughts

[00:25:54.300]
that you’d like to share,

[00:25:55.700]
perhaps in closing remarks.

[00:26:00.060]
<v ->Well, to speak to Troy’s point about not risking lives,</v>

[00:26:04.973]
we’ve had two incidents with our 600 MagArrow combo

[00:26:09.540]
in the Backwoods of Ohio,

[00:26:12.446]
and nobody’s been hurt except for the 600,

[00:26:15.250]
which has been revived twice.

[00:26:20.155]
So, you know, I think it,

[00:26:21.450]
that’s a really, really big point is that we were able,

[00:26:25.530]
we’re able to, to do the work

[00:26:27.630]
and get the data that people need

[00:26:29.750]
without putting anyone in harm’s way.

[00:26:33.438]
And hopefully no more incidents, learning.

[00:26:36.210]
You got to learn from the crashes.

[00:26:41.908]
<v ->Yeah, yeah.</v>

[00:26:43.470]
<v ->Absolutely.</v>

[00:26:44.303]
<v ->Yeah. I think, I don’t know</v>

[00:26:47.330]
what all the regulations are in terms of the size of drones,

[00:26:51.310]
but I think when we talk about flying gravity sensors

[00:26:55.840]
or big EM loops, I think that,

[00:26:58.827]
it may be that we need to start working with

[00:27:03.140]
either bigger drones

[00:27:04.430]
or maybe being able to fly multiple drones

[00:27:07.520]
close together in a sort of swarm

[00:27:10.970]
that we can maybe have four drones

[00:27:13.450]
carrying a large EM loop around the

[00:27:18.016]
around, and maybe that could be also

[00:27:21.130]
a very interesting way to,

[00:27:22.970]
especially maybe the groundwater industry,

[00:27:25.070]
where we want to look a couple of hundred meters deep,

[00:27:29.270]
but still be able to fly around with drones

[00:27:32.390]
rather than the helicopters like we’re doing now.

[00:27:36.820]
<v ->All extremely valuable information.</v>

[00:27:40.491]
And I love all the futuristic thoughts

[00:27:43.320]
and visions that we have.

[00:27:45.820]
Bart, Helen, Troy,

[00:27:47.880]
we appreciate you taking your time today

[00:27:51.000]
to share your knowledge and experiences with us

[00:27:54.890]
and to help us better understand

[00:27:57.430]
both the current workflow challenges

[00:27:59.410]
and future capabilities of drones.

[00:28:02.760]
On behalf of myself and Seequent.

[00:28:05.540]
We thank you.

[00:28:07.921]
(dramatic instrumental music)