The drone market showed incredible growth in 2017 and drones are increasing operational efficiency in numerous industries. Globally, drone unit sales grew an estimated 60 percent last year to 2.2 million, and revenue grew 36 percent to $4.5 billion, according to a research firm Gartner.
The reasons for the unrelenting rise of drones in everyone’s day to day lives because of the fact that a great number of major companies are transitioning from learning about the scalability of drones to incorporating them into their operations.
There are already ways to incorporate drones into a fleet. As technology and regulations stand today, drones cannot completely disrupt current way of doing business – rather, one can view drones as another tool to improve your existing operations. By integrating drones into an existing fleet of equipment and vehicles, one can increase efficiency and overall safety.
How can drones increase operational efficiency?
Here are a few use cases for drone aerial data and imaging, many of which have already seen success in the construction and engineering industries.
- Inspecting Infrastructure and Equipment: Inspection is a use case of drone that has seen a widespread adoption across industries like insurance, construction, engineering etc. Real-time aerial inspection allows an ability to quickly survey sites or catch mistakes. This year Caterpillar, one of the largest construction equipment manufacturers, invested in drone startup Airware. The company’s drones can be used for inspecting roofs, construction sites, mining operations, and utilities.
- Warehousing and Inventory Drone Applications: Large retailers are adopting drone technology for their inventory needs. Wal-Mart has been testing the use of drones in its warehouses to check and flag missing items. According to the company, a task of inventory taking that currently takes a month for people to do manually is done in a single day by drones flying in the warehouse. If Wal-Mart’s inventory drones save the company a tremendous amount of money, business leaders will follow and implement the same from an innovative vendor sooner or later.
- Accidents and natural disasters: When an incident/accident occurs, documenting the aftermath is important both to the insurance company and to insurers. In case of accidents, a representative from the insurance company, perhaps even the driver if unharmed, could use a drone to collect aerial data to document the exact circumstances of the accident. At the very least, the images can help you understand the cause of the incident and hopefully prevent similar outcomes in the future. In case of natural disasters, drones can assess the nature & intensity of damage to make it easier for the insurance companies to assess the situation and avoid risky manual inspections.
- Monitoring the workforce: Just as you have equipment that tracks your fleet on the road, you can also use drones to follow that protocol on company property. Are proper safety measures were observed during loading and unloading? Is maintenance being done in a timely and consistent fashion in factories? Is your facility generally safe and secure? A drone is able to cover more ground in less time than a human observer and record footage in high definition that can be checked in the event of an incident. Major ports company has been using a pair of drones to monitor ships with high-value cargo.
- Agricultural uses of drones: Drones can help track almost everything including water use, crop health, heat signatures, and soil analysis. Expensive aerial surveillance that could previously only be done occasionally with planes is now being completed weekly or even daily with drones that cost only hundreds of dollars. Several new start-ups and existing agriculture players are investing heavily in agriculture drones and the software needed to analyze the raw data. For example, John Deere provides its consumers access to their AgVault™ Software and agriculture scouting drones.
Building on a solid foundation for drones
These use cases are just a few examples of how drones can be used today to make operations more efficient. As regulations evolve and it becomes easier to use drones for last-mile deliveries or to serve rural areas without sending a driver and truck on a low-density delivery run, the sky will truly be the limit for this technology to deliver freight. When that day comes, those companies that have already embraced drones will enjoy a considerable advantage over their competitors. Scaling up is easier when you already have laid the foundation for a well-run commercial drone operation.
A growing number of industries are adopting drones as important work tools, but are discovering that it is difficult to scale operations. JungleWorks, helps companies launch and run safe, efficient drone operations. Like operating a fleet of vehicles, drones require logistical, safety, and regulatory oversight. Between dynamic airspace, evolving regulations, operator certifications, maintenance, and job specifications, there’s a lot to keep track of.
JungleWorks’s operations management platform has helped drone fleet management and pilot workforce management for a lot drone delivery companies. If you are a startup who needs assistance to manage your drone fleet, just send us a quick inquiry and our experts will be more than happy to help you.
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