Sebastián Zepeda
Delair-Tech Mexico
View from the Top

Drone Flybys Bolster Decision-Making

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 15:45

Q: What are the benefits of using drones in the development and maintenance of water infrastructure?

A: In water infrastructure fresh, quantitative, detailed and reliable information on how the water is behaving can be used to optimize resources, which translates into huge savings. A drone has the operational flexibility and costefficiency to allow weekly surveys of a river, for example, over a long period of time. Among other key indicators, drones can obtain and cross-reference water levels to characterize overall behavior. They can be used to see the effect rainfall, drought and other phenomenon have on rivers. If water infrastructure is being built, we can see the evolution of the construction site and how it is progressing. This is extremely useful for construction project managers because infrastructure projects are usually several kilometers long.

Q: What prompted Delair-Tec to bring its long-range drone solutions to the Mexican market?

A: Oil industry giant PEMEX has around 15,000km of pipelines in Mexico, which must be closely guarded due to security issues. The company loses hundreds of millions of dollars to pipeline theft every year. This is a highly complicated problem because the perpetrators are not amateurs but rather an organized crime group. We believe drones can play a key part in the solution and we see a lot of potential demand for this technology here.

Q: How can drones help optimize resources and reduce costs for infrastructure projects?

A: CONAGUA is working on a project that has been delayed several times because of complications with contractors. This project requires multiple civil engineering work spread across long distances in a coordinated, simultaneous manner. Cases like this are quite common in infrastructure projects. Drones are invaluable management tools for the planning, execution and follow-up of such projects because they rapidly provide quantitative, cost-efficient and reliable information that gives decision-makers both a perspective of the project’s status and detailed data on any blockages they need to address.

Q: What role should the government play in regulating drones?

A: The market is in dire need of regulation because there are many dangers associated with the use of drones. For example, if a drone falls from the sky it becomes a threat to anybody or anything below. The government should intervene by introducing specific, smart regulation. At the moment there is very little regulation, not only in Mexico but globally. For years the US completely blocked the use of drones and began losing market share, which allowed Europe and Asia to emerge as leaders in the technology. If a government implements regulations that are too stringent, it could stunt industry growth. If drones are banned completely, people will fly them illegally and if the regulations are too lenient, security could be compromised. The government here should take into consideration the regulations other countries are implementing and at the same time learn from and avoid repeating the mistakes they make. The country should follow the path of European market leaders such as France and Germany. Proper regulations will foster the growth of the market and ensure the safe integration of drones into Mexican airspace.