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Exploring the technical frontiers with drones

by Nick Holcombe (Managing Director) | Apr 26, 2016

As Christopher Pyne says, “The world and its economy are changing.  So Australia needs to focus on innovation: turning ideas into successful products. All of us working together will drive a new boom to generate jobs and prosperity.  Welcome to the ideas boom.”

Dorchester Computing’s origins and roots have been based on data processing and using data to make things happen.

Whilst our Prime Minister may labour the point that there is no more of an exciting time than now in this technological age, I have to agree that there seems to definitely be a profuse explosion in data collection technology. Much of this appears applicable in the bush where traditionally data has been scarce and now there appears to be all manner of technologies to measure information. Of course, the question of how that massive amount of information will be shared when the internet is so passé becomes even more pressing.

The burning question is; what do we need to do to choose an optimum innovation? In last Saturdays ABC Science Show there was a great statement made in the 1980s from the Father of artificial intelligence, Marvin Minsky. About the future of artificial intelligence he replied,  (paraphrased and from memory) “It’s hard to predict what will happen when we go to places we have never been before”

An example of data gathering; drones. Great for wedding videos and material promoting property sales. What else do they do and could they be considered to be part of Dorchester's core business?

Firstly they collect data, and we traditionally process data. Secondly, they will need to be cleverly programmed and we program cleverly. Hence we are testing Dorchester One, a drone, to explore its capabilities in these areas. After a week of use we had already gained interest from customers to utilise these for inventory checking and other work. Its use as a spotting device and camera/video was immediately realized and this has been the practical use that most people identify with. After a period of testing we have programmed it to collect information on regular flightpaths (theoretically largely unattended but practically not unattended). For example, it has flown a precise grid doing a search and rescue exercise for a lost object, and has also collected images to be overlaid precisely on a CAD diagram. If you have a database of coordinates of key items which you wish to inspect it is very possible to process that data to program the device to fly to and photograph those items automatically. Does it have limitations? Yes. But the beauty is that whilst it does have limitations, it also has an enormous array of uses, some of which may be beyond our imagination. It is but one means of robotic data collection.

The profusion of technologies to gather data is creating interest in our client base. We need to help with that as well as analyse and present the results in all manner of media.

Time to do what the Prime Minister suggests and explore the technical frontiers.

Contact our team today if you would like to find out more.


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