Top-of-the-range drone makes its debut
■ An environmental consultancy heavily involved in the Pilbara has become the first business in WA to acquire a high-grade unmanned aerial system.
The UAS, also called an unmanned aerial vehicle or drone, will improve Astron’s environmental surveying work.
Astron, a WA company with a Karratha office and about 80 per cent of its work in the Pilbara region, received the Bramor rTK drone two weeks ago.
The machine was made in Europe by leading aerospace enterprise providers C-Astral Aerospace, and only one other company in Australia owns one.
Astron has been using the smaller Sensefly Ebee drone, a model common across the Australian mining industry, for some years now.
But Sam Atkinson — manager of Astron’s geospatial team, the main department involved with the new machine — said the leadership team had led the charge to acquire the UAS to improve efficiency and innovation.
Mr Atkisnon said the UAS would require fewer “boots on ground” to survey huge areas of land and do it in less time than other UASs, while also offering more endurance, greater accuracy, and more sophisticated planning capabilities.
“It can comfortably cover 400ha in a single flight,” he said.
“This is the top end in terms of capability.”
He noted taking surveyors off the ground in minesite rehabilitation projects would reduce the occupational health and safety hazards they faced, as they worked in often dangerous and remote areas.
Astron’s geospatial team Joshua Kelcey, Will Wishart, Mehdi Ravanbakhsh, Sam Atkinson, Steven Tsang, Stuart Paisley, Tore Pedersen and Carl Dyde with the new drone.