Drones have made a real surge into public consciousness in the last two years, but how are they being leveraged in business? More importantly, are they fit for purpose?
Contrary to popular belief, the functionality of drones extends far beyond fun, games and amazon deliveries. In fact, drones are a versatile piece of technology, which can be an invaluable asset to the workforce across a range of industries. As of 2017, the commercial use of drones has increased exponentially. Drones are now being utilised in fields such as agriculture, architecture, construction and beyond.
Take construction, for example. There is certainly a perceivable benefit to businesses in reducing the extensive manpower and costs required to survey a site. This can now largely be reduced to a single member of staff operating a drone for the purpose of inspecting the environment. However, consider the scenario doesn’t require a survey and instead, a client wants to simply know how things are getting on. Well, drones carry significant value in that instance, too.
A Life Before Drones
Before the emergence of drones, visually mapping the overview of a site would be achieved in one of two ways: placing an array of suspended cameras across the site, or performing an aerial flyover and videoing the footage. Whilst both have some advantages, they each carry with them distinct limitations. Suspended cameras offer ongoing footage, which is great from a monitoring perspective, but only offers this through a narrow lens. Aerial flyovers are another option, but drones are now able to offer a similar service with more detailed imaging than previously available.
Mapping the Flight
Aerial Mapping services now exist to make drone surveying a reality. The likes of DroneDeploy are leveraging drone technology and photography to create what is known as an ‘aerial orthomosaic’. Additionally, mining companies have benefitted from this technology to assess the size and elevation of piles in a quarry, giving clearer scope on the volume of raw material actually available for mining. So, volumetric analysis is just one feature of drone-based aerial mapping that could have been a far bigger undertaking in the past.
Aerial mapping is not limited to construction alone, either. Site mapping is equally valuable in agriculture, too. DroneDeploy have case studies which also extend into inspection for the purposes of insurance, representing considerable saving.
Typically, one of the biggest obstacles is in teams assessing whether they should hire a third party to fly drones versus keeping this in-house. However, in spite of this initial hurdle for some companies, construction and agricultural industries are marching on, driving innovation and saving costs. Additionally, insurance-based surveying and real estate mapping is likely to gain more traction moving forward.