Not a few people know the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have gone beyond applications for weapons or espionage. Those who let their imaginations run wild often just think the best use for drones is as a virtual tool. Attach a camera to it, launch it, and capture images and videos.
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Drones can be used for search-and-rescue operations to support law enforcement, streamline agriculture management, give media access to hard-to-reach places, and contribute to safe infrastructure maintenance and management. Some farming initiatives in the US use these drones for crop-spraying as they are often cheaper than a full-sized helicopter.
Drones are so popular that over a million units were estimated to have been sold in Stores across the US. Most of these drones are in personal hands for use in achieving their hobbyist’s dreams. Now everybody thinks they should have one.
There are numerous advantages of having a drone as they can perform precise, repetitive, and hard tasks for extended periods that would too prove too mundane and boring for a human. They can also reduce the labor needed for certain commercial activities.
However, these drones are proving to be threats to several business ventures today. The pilot who would spray fields full of crops every day for two weeks is being replaced by a drone that can do that same work in 4 hours. A drone that can survey a site in a few hours will put a surveyor who would not have finished the surveying in a week out of a job. Many do not recognize the possible threats that the UAV poses to their livelihoods.
The commercial opportunity for the drone industry is huge. Personal and commercial drones aren’t just for taking photos or videos anymore. They can be rigged to survey, collect, and collate valuable data.
Skycatch is a US startup company that uses drones to do exactly this. According to BBC News, they use drones on building projects to give a bird’s-eye view of a site and provide progress reports, speed up the logistics of construction by monitoring deliveries, and offer real-time updates on any changes that may need to be made.
The meteorologists will no longer be needed as the drone can be fitted to gather Weather Atmospheric Studies, and it will give an impassionate view. It could provide 3-D feature extraction, thermographic imaging, photogrammetry services, asset monitoring, and lidar services in engineering. In insurance, it can be used for claims adjustments and asset management.
These are specific jobs that can be done by these aircraft, creating a void in those industries as the jobs may cease to exist over time. Companies that offer broker drone services could effectively be the next best thing as the cost of their services will be significantly lower in the long run than what an individual would have charged.
It is being touted in some circles that the architectural and engineering industries would be the first sector to feel the impact when the drone technology is widely accepted as a cheap and effective service provider.
Smart people should reinvent themselves and come up with viable plans to monetize data from drones ensuring that those UAVs will prove more of an asset to them in the future than a liability.