When choosing a drone, one of the first things to do is look at factors such as flight time and payload.
However, it is not as simple as that, as often drone manufacturers list the maximums, whereas flight times decrease as maximum payloads are reached.
To deal with this issue, one academic has created a website that allows prospective drone pilots to search a database to find the best drone for their purpose.
Dr. Bart Theys, associated with the Catholic University of Leuven, is that academic.
His website is Drone Benchmark, which has the potential to become the leading reference point for all drone comparisons.
“It actually started with the flood of questions I received about what was now the best drone to carry out a certain assignment,” Dr. Theys tells EUKA. “I often had to find the answer.”
That is changing now. With the website, Dr. Theys wants to help drone pilots to select the best aircraft for the job to be performed.
To make this possible, the website relies on a database created by Theys, and although for now it is limited to the most popular drone makes, “this will change in the future.”
In order to make the technical comparison and mission planning that the website offers possible, there are three methods for collecting data.
Drone-Benchmark tests the drones in the first method. “This is done by flying certain patterns, taking into account different weights, wind speeds, and batteries,” explains Dr. Theys. “With the help of our own procedures, we compare drones on such a flat surface.”
Another method uses computer simulations to estimate real drone capacities. This model uses various known data points, to then estimate the missing specifications. The flight characteristics of the drones can thus be extrapolated. “To get enough data, we count on the help of the drone pilots. With the help of their flight logs we can collect a lot of that essential data. ”
Finally, Drone-Benchmark also looks at what the manufacturer says. “Although we do not take them at their word,” warns Dr. Theys. “We use the specifications supplied by the manufacturer and put them into our model. We then compare already known devices with the new, after which we can make a fairly accurate estimate of the flight characteristics of the new drone. By making that comparison, we can also put exaggeratedly optimistic specifications from manufacturers into perspective. ”
Drone-Benchmark is currently in beta mode. It is hoped that next year a spin-off company of the research can be established.