Avonbridge drone venture taking flight

Stuart Shanks believes we will see more drones in the skies in the future as they can reduce costs for businesses in the farming and construction industries. Picture: Michael Gillen
Stuart Shanks believes we will see more drones in the skies in the future as they can reduce costs for businesses in the farming and construction industries. Picture: Michael Gillen

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s not Superman – it’s a remote-controlled drone flying over overhead collecting data.

Brothers Stuart and Ross Shanks, from Avonbridge, are taking flight on a new business venture that will help change the face of 
Scotland’s countryside as well as the farming and construction industries.

With massive multinational companies like Amazon looking to use drones to deliver parcels it looks like we may have to get used to seeing the alien-like crafts in the air more often and the siblings are looking to get in on the action from the ground.

The siblings now have a licence from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to fly their drones commercially in the sky to carry out a range of data collecting from land surveys and site measurements to crop monitoring.

The UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) drones can survey land, measuring levels and sizes of areas, with up to 2cm accuracy from the air in a fraction of the time it takes manually, and with more detailed data.

Engineer Stuart (35) said: “Basically the drone takes pictures that we stitch together and it is accurate to 9mm in 50 to 60 acres of land.

“They can measure inaccessible areas like forests and can cover large areas so it reduces costs for businesses.

“I see real potential in the market and we will hopefully be creating jobs in this area in the near future.

“The government is paying farmers to set aside land for nature so at some point the whole countryside of Scotland will need surveyed.

“We can analyse crops and plants for farmers from the air and can pinpoint disease in crops like potatoes before the human eye can which will help improve crop yields.

“I believe this way of working will be big business in farming in the future.”