In our 2020 Winter Product Release, we announced that the DroneDeploy Flight App now supports Terrain Awareness. This brand new feature provides a safer way to navigate dangerous worksites, reducing time and money spent on manual inspections. The most-requested item in our pilot survey, DroneDeploy’s Terrain Awareness is a useful tool no matter your industry.
What is Terrain Awareness?
Terrain Awareness is a drone’s ability to adapt its flight plan to its surroundings. In the DroneDeploy app, users can activate this feature within their Flight Plan. From here, your drone will adjust its altitude and positioning automatically, by analyzing the set landscape pre-flight from data publicly available from NASA. Since the drone maintains its height consistently throughout the flight, you’re left with a more complete and accurate map - without obstacle interference.
Why it’s Important
Terrain Awareness is also a safety feature for your drone. Without it, a drone is unable to sense upcoming obstacles or the ground below, which can significantly increase its risk of a crash. Varied and unpredictable terrains are conditions seen in industries such as mining, forestry, and agriculture. These industries rely heavily on drone technology to map their vast expanses and need a reliable tool to do so. Besides being a safer and more accurate mapping feature, Terrain Awareness provides a better image overall because of its close, even proximity to the surface. The images produced from a flight enabled with DroneDeploy’s Terrain Awareness will be more precise and higher resolution than those without this feature.
With deep quarries and varied edges, having a drone that detects ground surface is necessary if you want a precise view of your job site in the mining space. The same is true in the forestry industry. Usually, on varying hills and mountainsides, it would be nearly impossible to adjust your flight plan for every elevation change manually. By employing DroneDeploy’s Terrain Awareness, users get a quick, universal map without the manual hassle.
FAA regulations restrict commercial drone flight to 400 feet high, and Terrain Awareness allows the pilot to maintain this altitude over changing landscapes. By adjusting the height based on the obstacle or ground level, users can fly their drones up to 400 feet above a structure and remain in compliance with FAA regulations.