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Drone-collected data goes live in the cloud

Cloud4Drones platform allows professional drone operators to build new and enriched cloud-enabled services

The platform also allows drone operators to build new cloud-enabled services
The platform also allows drone operators to build new cloud-enabled services

EIT Digital has announced Cloud4Drones, a cloud-based platform for drone monitoring as well as development of drone applications.


The company wants to exploit the “nearly ubiquitous” connection to mobile networks to provide a cloud-based centralised data harvesting platform for data storage and back-up. Integration with the cloud infrastructure enables live use of data collected by the drone.


According to EIT, Cloud4Drones platform allows professional drone operators to build new and enriched cloud-enabled services such as for infrastructure monitoring.


“The digitalisation of drone services and their connection to cloud computing is the essential first step for the mature adoption of this technology,” said Maurizio Griva, the Innovation Activity leader and Internet of Things solution manager at Reply.


“This will be possible only if the drones are connected to a mobile network, covering today almost all of the European soil and thus providing the communication channel everywhere.”


In the context of infrastructure monitoring, the annual cost for various maintenance inspections in Europe is estimated to be approximately €2bn. The economic implications for commercial drone use for infrastructure inspections are undeniable, said EIT Digital.


A Deloitte University Press study suggests it is possible to inspect 15-20 wind turbines in a day by using drones with advanced software, compared to between two- and five inspected by traditional ground-based methods.


“Our way of building the drone applications by exploiting the connection to the mobile networks will be new, as unlike the existing approaches, it will allow an inspector or domain expert to support operations without need of being on field, by providing feedbacks or advice while the drone is still [in] flight,” added Griva.


“This is an improvement in terms of efficiency and cost-reduction particularly relevant where infrastructures are spread in wide areas difficult to reach -- like dams in the mountains or offshore infrastructures.”


Furthermore, integration with the cloud infrastructure enables a live use of data collected by the drone by expert systems or human specialists and allows feedback to the pilot flying the drone.


The Cloud4Drones platform is expected to be commercially available by the end of 2017. It will contain a centralised data harvesting platform, prototype hardware platform with on-board software to be deployed on the drone, and a mission control tool made of a collection of tools to help the user to design missions and foresee them prior to an operation.


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