PARK CITY, Utah (ABC4) — Drones are becoming more of a part of everyday life, but that might not be a bad thing. Here’s why.
Paul Huish and his company DroneHive are here to change the way we think about autonomous drones. DroneHive is a “leading drone service provider for aerial data collection” that specializes in connecting companies with licensed drone pilots employed by the company. He is based in Park City, UT.
Huish says “drones are for good,” and far from the kind of end times, Skynet harbingers of the robotic apocalypse that many think they represent. “Drones are here to stay and are being widely adopted across industries,” says Huish.
Huish comes from a family of “Utah entrepreneurs” and has experience in other industries as regulated as drones.
DroneHive provides drone services to a wide range of businesses in an even wider range of industries. These include green energy, cell tower infrastructure, construction sites, civil engineering projects, agriculture, etc. “If you can capture it with a drone, we try to get into that business,” Huish says. DroneHive primarily specializes in collecting data through three different types of imagery: RBG or traditional video, thermal and infrared imaging, and multispectral imagery.
Huish comments that DroneHive also helps its pilot employees in ways that other companies could not. This assistance includes assistance with licenses, field troubleshooting, and provision of equipment for employees. “We’re creating some really good tech jobs that don’t require a four-year degree,” says Huish.
Recently, DroneHive has engaged in projects that use drones and machine learning software to enable rapid inspection of cell towers to assess the condition of their equipment and functionality. This means that no one needs to climb these towers and put themselves in danger of falling or other injuries. According to Huish, DroneHive has serviced hundreds of cell towers in Utah and thousands in the United States.
Huish is especially proud of the philanthropic work of DroneHive which has contributed to projects designed to foster environmental sustainability. For example, DroneHive used drones to assess fuel density in forests to assess wildfire risk.
Although they’ve only entered commercial and personal spaces in recent years, drones (often referred to as UAVs or unarmed aerial vehicles) have been around longer than you might think.
Kashyap Vyas, an industry expert reporting for Interesting Engineering, provides a feature article on the history of drones. According to Vyas, the FAA reported 1.1 million UAVs registered in the United States in 2019. Vyas acknowledges that while UAVs have military roots, they are now used for a “wide range of functions, including monitoring change climate, delivery of goods, assistance in search and rescue operations, and in filming and photography.
According to Vyas’ article, the first use of something akin to a drone as we know it today was in 1849 during a military attack by Austria on the city of Venice, which used “explosive-packed unmanned balloons” designed to drop bombs over the city from afar.
Later, the first iteration of a quadcopter aircraft was attempted in 1907. While this quadcopter only flew less than a meter high, it informed the most popular drone design used commercially and mainstream today, according to Vyas.
Subsequently, Vyas writes that modern aviation technology combined with 20and the innovation of the War of the Century led to most developments in UAVs, and they have since become a large part of many modern military and police forces. Commercial and consumer drones have also been developed in part due to the success of miniature radio-controlled (RC) airplanes, which enjoyed great success in the second half of the 20and century according to the article by Vyas.
Regardless of the origins of drone technology, the prospect of autonomous flight equipment has long fascinated innovators and only now is it being implemented on a large scale in commerce and industry. DroneHaven shows how Utah is immersing itself in this new commercial frontier.