Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or simply drones, while being known for quite some time by military users, became incredibly popular in recent years among consumers, including industrial, law enforcement, scientific, and virtually any users.
NNTC provides turnkey UAS integration projects using proprietary mission planning software, as well as a full stack of software and hardware from global vendors, training services, and support. Command Centers for drone operations are another area of expertise for NNTC, such centers are used for centralized drone operation management.
In addition, NNTC has the experience and expertise in quad- and multi-copters, helicopters, fixed-wing and VTOL aircrafts, various payloads, from simple cameras to gas sensors, from synthetic aperture radars to lidars, and many others.
Drones are used for various cases and missions, some of them are listed and described below.
Once integrated into customer’s existing command center, drone management software helps control and monitor the situation from drone patrolling area. Drones transmit the video stream to the customer’s command center, where operators receive up-to-date picture from the event scene and can quickly take the necessary measures online in case of danger.
Coupled with video analytics, the solution will provide:
- high quality event recognition (traffic jams, car accidents, crowded areas and more)
- face recognition of people from the scene
- Fixed-wing aircraft.
First drones appeared in the industry were fixed-wing aircrafts or, simply speaking, airplanes. Whenever someone needs simplicity, the lowest cost and longest range, endurance, the highest speed and highest possible payloads – fixed-wing drones are the answer. Current fixed-wing drone applications include surveillance, reconnaissance, large area patrol, remote areas inspections, photogrammetry, and many more. There are two factors, which really limit the use of this type of drones: it requires runways or bulky launch/recovery devices to operate, and it can’t hover or fly at low speed. There are hundreds of fixed-wing drone vendors on the market offering aircraft for virtually any mission.
- Vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.
VTOL aircraft was invented to enable fixed-wing aircrafts to take off without using runway or launch device. Originally designed as airplane with rotating engines and/or wings, which can lift airplane vertically, today VTOL drones are mostly hybrids of airplane and quadcopters, having aerodynamically optimized quadcopter frame embedded into the design of usually high aspect ratio wing airplane. Such design reduces flying capacity of the fixed-wing aircraft, but adds vertical take-off/landing and some hovering functionality at the cost of reduced payloads and shorter endurance time. Most of the VTOL drones today offer 1-2 kg payload carrying capacity with endurance time of 1-2 hours, in case of an electric drivetrain, or up to 6-8 hours when being gas powered. Other sizes proved to be technically complex, unreliable and inefficient, giving no benefits compared to the other types of aircraft.
- Quad- and multi-copters.
Quadcopters were invented in the 1920s to resolve persistent problems with vertical flight. The overall design was technically simple and attractive, and quadcopters were the first heavier-than-air vertical flight aircrafts to take off. However, due to natural aerodynamic instability those days, they were almost impossible to operate by pilots, plus they required independent torque control for each rotor, which wasn’t technically viable in the beginning of the 20th century. With an advent of microelectronics, power semiconductors, MEMS devices, Li-ion batteries and strong magnets quad- and multi-copters became incredibly popular, since torque control, stability and mechanical complexity challenges are addressed. Today, when people talk about drones, they usually assume quad- and multi-copters. These flying machines come in thousands of varieties, sizes, with every imaginable payload. The main benefits are VTOL and hovering, simplicity of the machines, and possibility to build them even by non-skilled technicians or amateurs. The main drawback, due to aerodynamic instability and relatively small propellers, is short flying time, usually in the range of about 20-30 minutes for bigger drones and much less for smaller ones. There are thousands of manufacturers on the market, with DJI being almost absolute leader on consumer and industrial markets.
- Drone boxes.
Autonomous drone unit equipped with a drone charging station (drone box) is good for regular video monitoring and rescue kit delivery as a hangar protects the drone from severe weather, while a charging station can be deployed at any place along the road. Additionally, it is equipped with a weather station and automatic take-off and landing system. Flight time of such drone is up to 40 minutes.
- Tethered drone. A portable tethered drone can be a part of a police car to cover area up to 30 km with an altitude up to 100 meters. Drone is deployed in 15 minutes and can hover up to8 hours and film on a Full HD camera with x30 zoom, as well as in IR.
Monitoring of urban environments may be time-consuming and challenging using traditional stationary or mobile equipment. Using drones to move gas analyzers, particle counters, and other instruments across urban or industrial areas can speed up the monitoring and greatly increase monitoring coverage and efficiency. Integrated solutions consisting of drones, airborne sensors, ground control and data visualization/analysis software help boost environmental monitoring quality to the next level.
Industrial inspections can get tremendous benefits and cost reduction once conducted with the use of drones. The use cases are endless: photogrammetry, agricultural surveys and spraying, PV solar installation inspections, chimney inspections, wind turbines blades imaging, and many more. In many industries, it is about not only economic benefits, but also reducing the risk of life loss. NNTC has extensive expertise, software, industry experts to design and implement industrial inspection solutions with drones, provide training and shadowing to our customers and support the customers during their operations.
SECURITY AND SURVEILLANCE
Security and military use cases are traditional for drones. Most of security uses are about aerial surveillance of an area or perimeter during day or night with various types of cameras: high resolution color, with long zoom ranges, or thermal cameras for night vision. In many cases, such missions require long flight times and/or drone rotation to sustain continuous surveillance operations. At NNTC, we can provide a full stack of solutions for such applications, including mission planning, command center and long endurance drones.
PUBLIC SAFETY AND LAW ENFORCEMENTIn the recent years, drones have proven to be efficient and economical tool to do the job in public safety and law enforcement. Everywhere, from mass events situational awareness to traffic speed enforcement, there are reliable and proven solutions with drones. NNTC can provide full integration cycle for airborne speed radars, plate recognition and situational awareness.
The term drone, which is widely used today was coined in the 1920s as a reference to remotely controlled target airplanes used for shooting practices. Today, unmanned aircraft system is defined as a powered, aerial vehicle that doesn’t carry human operator, uses aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift, can fly autonomously or piloted remotely, can be expendable or recoverable, and can carry various payloads. And there are many types developed since the first drone models: