Drone Technology – Here is a look at how drones are impacting the way businesses operate.
Where Are Drones Being Used? – Drone Technology
These unmanned craft, weighing just 55 pounds or less, are already helping the weather service track storms and forecast conditions. The government is used them for disaster management programs and traffic management.
The use of drones is growing in the commercial section, including:
Here is a closer look at each area.
Media and Entertainment – Drone Technology
Camera drones can take footage that previously required a helicopter. Because they are smaller and unmanned, they can get into smaller areas and take photos from a closer distance.
Entertainment executives have embraced drones. They are less expensive and more efficient in many cases. They have been used in films shot outside the U.S. like Harry Potter, Hobbit and Skyfall. In the U.S. they were used in Avengers: Age of Ultron, The Leftovers and The Mentalist.
Toys – Drone Technology
Many drones are available to consumers willing to spend the money. Equipped with cameras, they can take pictures flying up to 100 feet overhead.
DJI is the largest producer of drones for personal use in the world. The Chinese company recently displayed one that is controlled via a tablet or smartphone, not just a remote control.
Delivery – Drone Technology
The first commercial delivery that was legal in the U.S., on July 17, 2015, was a demonstration flight. Medicine was transported from an airport in Virginia to the fairgrounds nearby.
Amazon is promising drone delivery of packages via PrimeAir in 2017 and has already tried it out in the UK. Not to be outdone, Google has Project Wing. So far it has delivered cattle vaccines, a radio, water and even candy bars to two ranchers in Queensland, Australia. Walmart is also testing drone delivery.
In the UK, Dominos Pizza has already experimented with the technology. DHL, the delivery service, is now using drones to deliver packages to an isolated island off the coast of Germany.
Inspections – Drone Technology
The commercial area where drones have excelled is for inspections. They are currently in use in a number of industries, and the list keeps growing. Here is a just a partial list of the industries that are using them:
If it needs to be inspected and it is hard for a human to reach, drones are a definite alternative.
For example, ranchers with cattle in the high country pasturing over the winter can use drones to make sure they are in good shape and to count them. Large monuments, from Mount Rushmore in South Dakota to the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. can be inspected using more easily and more regularly using drones.
But they aren’t just useful for wide areas and extremely high locations. In the city, roofers are using drone technology to inspect the roofs of homes that have developed leaks or are aging. The franchise NPI, National Property Inspection, has applied for FAA certification for the use of drones for home inspections.
The company is helping its franchise owners to get the training and licensing required for their FAA Certificates. This assures that the inspectors know how to use the drone technology safely and effectively. The company feels this will give their franchisees a major marketing advantage. They are at the forefront of first property inspection companies leveraging the technology.
FAA Certification – Drone Technology
The U.S. has been slower than many countries, especially Canada, UK and Japan, in allowing commercial use of drones. The Federal Aviation Administration cites safety as the reason for slowly introducing commercial drone technology.
The FAA points out that the airspace in the U.S. is larger and more complex. It has a much larger number of commercial flights and airports. For example, in the U.S. there are 9.8 million commercial flights vs. just 1.3 million in Canada.
New Rules – Drone Technology
New regulations came into effect in late August 2016 for civilians wanting to operate commercial drones. Anyone who is over 16 can fly-for-hire by passing a background check and a written test.
Thousands of would-be commercial drone operators took the test, available for the first time in August. “The sky is going to open up at the end of August for a lot of opportunities,” according to NPI owner Randy Yates. He described the future possibilities as “a whole new world” when it comes to using drones for viewing rooftops and other hard-to-view spots.
According to current rules, the commercial drone flights must be done during daytime hours and within sight of the operator of the drone. No flight can exceed 400 feet off the ground.
Getting Certified – Drone Technology
Savvy service companies are jumping on drone technology because they recognize the revolutionary impact it will have for consumers and business. The FAA is trying to figure out how to deal with the flood of applicants for certification.
Applicants are looking for help to study for the test and pass it quickly. Companies that are relying on the new drone technology, like NPI, are arranging assistance for people involved with the company for studying and applying for the certification.
A Big Impact – Drone Technology
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx feels that drones “have the potential to transform how we fly” and “offer many potential benefits.”
Though big commercial enterprises like insurance, construction and utilities will be major users of drone technology. it will also have a major impact on residential services, especially for home inspections and eventually package delivery.