The Importance of Artificial Intelligence in Autonomous UAVs a.k.a Drones

What are Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)?

Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that are embedded with special intelligent software, controlled by the remote unit in conjunction with several working sensors and GPS. These are the flying robots used to manage all things in the air without a pilot on board. Drones have several practical applications like in the military, photography, delivery, emergency rescue, and many more.

Flight and Navigation are the two main functions of drones. They can fly at varying distances and heights to take on the toughest jobs assisting in law enforcement for keeping a bird’s eye view in public gatherings to monitor suspicious activities and for delivering food, packages, and goods at your doorstep.

Drones have special kinds of sensors like thermal sensors, time of flight sensors, visual sensors, orientation sensors, multi-spectral sensors accelerometers, gyroscope, barometers, magnetometers, and GPS. All these sensors help in the navigation and flight controlling of the air robots.

What are the Types of Drones?

Drones are of three types:

  • Single Rotor Drone
  • Multi-Rotor Drone
  • Fixed Wing Drone.

Each one of them serves a different purpose and has unique characteristics.

The single rotor drone runs on gas or is electrically powered has a single blade. These are the perfect robots that cover long distances easily by carrying heavier objects like LIDAR Sensors.

These robots run faster and can be used for land surveys, map erosion, and research storms. Talking about the multi-rotor air robots which are light in weight and are slower than single rotor drones. They can cover the fixed distance with a limited speed and height and serve the best to photographers for aerial view photography at wedding events. They can carry lightweight such as cameras by spending 30-40 minutes in the air.

Fixed-wing drones are just like airplanes that consume fuel to glide in the air for more than half of a day. These drones are large in size and need a proper runway for take-off and landing.

Fixed rotor serves in the military for the transportation of missiles and airstrikes and by logistic retailers to transport goods in areas that are hard to reach.

The Use of Computer Vision in Drones

The three vital applications of computer vision in drones are:

  • Object Detection and Tracking
  • Self-navigation
  • Obstacle Detection and Collision Avoidance.

The intelligent drones can easily detect the object in the air with strong and robust computerized programming with image processing techniques and trained neural network. The smart UAVs can easily detect the obstacle coming through its way and easily overcome that obstacle without any collision.

A variety of objects are labeled for neural network training of drones so they can easily classify various objects like buildings, vehicles, humans, trees, and foothills. These objects are annotated to make them recognizable to drones through computer vision.

The Applications of AI-Powered Drones

The AI-powered drones serve in many industries like agriculture, retail logistics, transportation of goods, and military defense. Some of the applications of the UAVs are discussed in detail:

The Role of AI Drones in Agriculture

The development of drones has a drastic change in the agriculture industry and still has the biggest potential market. These AI-based UAVs are capable of monitoring the fertility of the crops, monitoring livestock, reduce crop wastage, spraying pesticides, and monitoring the health, nutrient, and water level of the crops from few centimeters to detect the low field areas.

The scouting air robots are equipped with special sensors and cameras that fly above the crops at a certain height with the help of GPS to take clear pictures of the paddy fields. To monitor the health of the fields, crops, and weeds the thermal cameras assist in capturing the infrared images of the crops. The drones move in a way that they can capture all the areas of the field.

The images are then stitched together and pass to dedicated software that shows the encountered problems with the crops and suggests the preventive measures that need to be taken by the farmers. These robots are also used for predicting natural hazards like floods, excessive rain, tropical storms by taking the soil samples in the same way and let the farmers take early preventive measures.

For spraying the pesticides on the paddy fields, drones have eased the life of the farmers. The drone is filled with pesticides controlled by the GPS and flies at a certain height to spray the pesticides on the crops with high precision. These drones are capable of spraying 2000 ha area in one day. 

Drone Seed: It is a US-based company that delivers herbicides, pesticides, and other fertilizers to the foresters. The main goal of this company is to make forestation easier by coping with the foresters to reduce the cost.  

American Robotics: This company has developed its first autonomous UAV in December which is known as “Scout”. The Scout is responsible for carrying different scouting missions daily. This drone is equipped with various visual and multi-spectral cameras and is capable of self-charging and self-managing itself.

Top Flight Technologies: It developes UAVs that fly longer in the air to cover hundreds of acres in a single flight. This company developed an AI-based hybrid energy power system that guarantees to stay longer in the air carrying heavier payloads. These drones are equipped with high spectral imaging cameras that provide high-quality images to the farmers.

The Role of AI Drones in Retail Logistics

Commercial drones have revolutionized the market to an immense level. Several retailers from all over the world are using drones for achieving high precision, timeliness, reducing manpower, and increasing supply chain and logistics.

Many companies are working on autonomous commercial robots for delivering goods at the customer’s doorstep without any delay. This can increase the demand for the products helping in the flourishment of the businesses and an increase in online shopping.

The development of commercial robots has reinvented the entire warehouse industry. Many companies are using drones for intralogistics to keep a track of transportation of goods in the inventory and the shipped items. Drones also assist in conducting safety inspections, monitoring suspicious activities, and taking preventative measures quickly in the warehouses.

Multi-rotor drones are used in warehouses to speed up the process of pick and put away things that need a lot of manpower and time. Another use case of the logistic drone is the rural deliveries with inadequate infrastructure by enabling the people of remote areas to connect to the global trade market.

Several companies are using logistics drones to speed up the delivery procedure. Some of the companies are listed below:

Amazon Prime Air: The company uses small drones that are used for the delivery of goods at the customer’s doorstep in 30 minutes. Prime Air can carry packages weighing up to 5 pounds or less.

Flytrex: This company provide an end-to-end delivery service for different market places like restaurants, delivery companies, retailers and hospitals. The Flytrex drones are small in size that can carry a maximum weight of 6.6 pounds and cover a distance of 6.2 miles approx.

DHL Parcelcopter: This autonomous UAV carries a payload of up to 4.4 pounds. These are small drones that look like a helicopter and travel with a speed of 43 miles per hour.

The Role of AI Drones in Military Defense

After the successful invention of military drones, the military forces defense strategies are executed successfully without the loss of soldiers. This is why military UAVs are successful nowadays and many military forces are using these drones for the defense of their country. Unlike other drones used in agriculture or logistics, these drones need higher precision and accuracy to target the aim. These air robots are expensive and are big in size, unlike other commercial or scouting drones.

The military drones can be used for several purposes which are listed below:

  • The first military drone is the target decoy which is used to mislead the enemy to launch a new attack from another direction. Professionals control these drones remotely through dedicated software.  The military UAVs uses special jammers to confuse the opponent air defense system.
  • The second military UAVs are used for combat missions. These drones are trained well enough to aim and destroy the target. These drones are embedded with special sensors and are equipped with hardware capabilities which leads them to successfully hit the target with great precision. Some of the most popular combat mission drones are Heron TP, MQ-9B SkyGuardian, and Predator C Avenger. These drones can carry up to 2700kgs of missiles for massive destruction.
  • Another drone used for the military are surveillance drones. These drones are used to keep an eye on their enemies without any risk to life. These unmanned aerial vehicles are also used for monitoring the presence of their soldiers, passing useful information to them by building a strong communication path. Surveillance drones have a powerful flight control mechanism that expels their presence in the enemy’s radar system.

Some of the dominating military drones companies in the market are; Northrop Grumman, Textron, General Atomics and Boeing.

Data Annotation for Drone Technology

Data Annotation in Agriculture

Image annotation plays a key role in the detection of crops and soil making them recognizable to drones. With the help of image annotation of crops, it assists the farmers in calculating the fructification of crops to ensure whether they are ready to harvest or not.

Apart from that, image annotation helps to monitor crop health and to analyze the condition of infected and healthy plants. Crops annotation also helps in detecting the unwanted plants that grow with the crops. Such plants need to be removed for boosting the productivity of the entire agricultural field.

A semantic segmentation image annotation technique is used for geo-sensing to monitor the condition of the soil, the right time of crop sowing and harvesting. Talking about agricultural livestock monitoring, data annotation also helps in the detection of the animals using bounding box annotation which leads to profitable livestock raising. 

To get the large annotated image data for the training of scouting UAVs, Labellerr can assist many farmers and agriculture professionals. It can provide a large training dataset that can be used in agricultural drones to grow your business. Labellerr provides the services of data annotation, labeling, validation, classification, and collection of data.

Data Annotation in Retail Logistics

For recognizing the retail items, data annotation is necessary. AI has brought a revolution in retail stores and warehouses. Humans are now replaced with automated robots and drones to carry out human tasks with high precision and timelines.

The objects in the retail stores and warehouses need to be annotated so that the drones should easily identify the correct object. More image annotation leads to high accuracy. For the annotation of a large number of objects in retail, Labellerr assists in labeling the objects using various labeling and segmentation techniques.

Labellerr aims to provide loss prevention, inventory management, detecting missing objects, face recognition, sentiment analysis, and many more. If you want the logistic drones to work with 100% accurate data annotation is the right choice.

Data Annotation in Military Defense

Military drones need a high level of data annotation to detect the target, for surveillance, and to detect the objects in the air to avoid the collision. These drones need various classes of data annotation like object annotation to avoid the hurdles in the air, target annotation to avoid missing target, face and action recognition for monitoring the actions of the soldiers and enemies.

Labellerr assists in annotating a large amount of image/video data using their proprietary ai-powered data annotation platform.

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