If you’re a longtime drone pilot looking to expand your fleet or new to the world of professional unmanned aerial systems (UAS), there’s a lot to consider when investing in a new drone platform.
Before we jump into the exciting details such as advanced camera payloads, flight capabilities, data quality, and precision mapping outputs that were not even imaginable years ago, it’s essential that you first understand which type of aircraft is best suited for your business. Is a multi-rotor drone, such as a four-propellor-powered quadcopter ideal for most application needs, or a fixed-wing that more closely resembles a traditional airplane? Or both?
While there are a lot of differences between these two platform types, the flight times that result from their unique aerodynamics, stand to make the biggest business impact.
And the advantages are multi-faceted – let’s take a closer look.
1. Fly significantly longer
When it comes to large-scale mapping projects, the eBee X fixed-wing design goes the distance by using efficient aerodynamics to fly up to 90 minutes in a single flight with its endurance extension, while most popular quadcopters can only achieve 30 minutes before requiring a battery swap.
2. Map larger areas & expand into remote mapping
It is crucial to employ a mapping platform that can reach virtually any site, capture critical data and return home – without the risk of running out of battery charge.
The eBee X fixed-wing drone can access a flight radius up to 5.3X larger than the typical quadcopter drone while providing regulatory advantages for conducting operations such as flying beyond a visual line of sight (BVLOS)
3. Spend less time on-site
From data acquisition to battery changes and transition times, fixed-wing drones require less flights.
Below, the results of a recent test comparing mapping timings on a 100 ha (247 A) mission showed that an eBee X with S.O.D.A. 3D sensor was almost 2X quicker than a quadcopter due to its efficiency.
And these time savings are scalable — the larger the area, the greater the difference!
4. Reduce your labor costs
For business managers, the effect of reduced time on site is appealing (especially if an external drone operator is being employed.)
When applying the average labor costs listed to the right to a 300 ha (741 A) mission, it’s easy to see in the calculation below, that the fixed-wing platform has the potential to net $249-$385 in savings to the operation.
And this is just a single team!
5. Increase your project capacity
Time savings means more mapping projects can be completed over a specific period. Flying a fixed-wing drone in place of a slower quadcopter was found to boost a team’s potential capacity by several projects per week to more than double when applied to larger projects.
6. Simplify your flight planning
senseFly’s eBee drones seamlessly integrate with eMotion, an advanced, scalable, and intuitive flight planning software. When using active RTK, the eBee can directly geotag collected images with high accuracy during flight to provide you with a time-saving advantage in post-processing.
7. Gain flexibility with modular payloads
All eBee drones feature a modular design that enables you to quickly swap sensor payloads, conduct repairs, and interval servicing with ease. This feature, along with wide accessibility to parts, significantly reduces downtime in comparison to many VTOL platforms.
8. Expand your corridor mapping capabilities
With up to 3X longer flight time, the fixed-wing eBee X can map up to 18.7 km/11.6 mi approx. 3X longer corridors than a typical quadcopter’s coverage of 9 km (5.6 mi) per battery by comparison. This difference could potentially enable a commercial operator to engage in a wider range of corridor projects or to map larger corridors up to 3X more efficiently.
9. Increase your flight safety
Due to lightweight, impact-resistant Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) material, plus the smart design of the eBee (no hard front plastic parts, rear-facing motor) as well as pre-programmed emergency actions within eMotion, operators have a robust, safe drone for conducting mapping missions and a platform well-suited for advanced drone operations such as Operations Over People (OOP) and BVLOS flights – affording you a significant advantage over heavier platforms.
10. Maximize your mobility
The lighter your equipment, the easier it is to transport to your site. Weighing just 4.6 kg (10 lbs) empty and 10 kg / (22 lbs) when fully loaded with an eBee, laptop and accessories, senseFly’s backpack and drone is one of the lightest professional-grade platforms in the industry, allowing you to easily go – wherever the site takes you.