Ireland’s era of large commercial drone operations starts here

14 Jul 2015

It’s a new era for large commercial drone operations in Ireland as Green Aviation launched the first of its fleet of commercial drones to offer various services, including data gathering.

The company launched its range of drones from Mount Lucas Wind Farm in Co Offaly and, with its R-350 helicopter-like drone, Green Aviation hopes to scale back the data collection and monitoring currently done by piloted helicopters.

The company says it has a selection of drones ranging from 11kg to 150kg in weight with flying cameras weighing anywhere between 3kg to 35kg that it says can appeal to a range of services.

As mentioned previously, the removal of helicopters is seen as being an area where drones can step in when it comes to monitoring large rural areas, such as those dealing in agriculture or infrastructure.

Green Aviation’s CEO Oisin Green said of the types of services larger drones can be effective in: “Utility companies for example, who currently would use helicopters to monitor the National Grid, are switching to our large, industrial Inspection drone as it is silent, compared to the helicopters, which are very loud — particularly at low levels, which disturbs livestock.”

He continued: “Drone surveillance and data collection is of huge benefit to the large agriculture sector in Ireland. Farmers can use drones to take aerial imagery of their crops to assess their health. This info can then inform farmers which exact areas need attention, as opposed to operating in the absence of such specific information.”

Aside from the coincidence of the company being named Green, after its CEO, it says its drones will be 90pc more energy efficient than its larger, piloted cousins and 30pc more cost effective.

Drone above farmland image via Lars Lougmann/Flickr

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic