What are Commercial Drones?
A commercial drone is a drone (or small unmanned aircraft system) that is used for commercial purposes. Rather than being just a recreational piece of equipment, drones fall into the commercial category when utilized to solve complex problems for businesses.
There are many different commercial applications for drones that we’ll discuss throughout this article, but one of the most popular business ventures is selling photography taken by your UAV. UAV’s (or drones) are utilized in all kinds of businesses, and are continuing to expand.
Need to move something heavy in accessible areas? Need a tethered feed with data mapping? The possibilities are endless. If you already know what you need, and you think it’s a custom built UAV, please use our contact form to the right to discuss your needs with our commercial drone specialists.
With that being said, the drones that are consumer drones for sale have developed quickly and allow businesses to utilize them for commercial applications. They have become a valuable tool for a variety of major industries and Fortune 500 companies. If you’re a business thinking about using a drone for commercial purposes, check out some of our favorite commercial drones below. These are generally considered “prosumer” drones that can be utilized and adapted for commercial purposes.
If you’re a business looking to hire out a drone specialist page, check out our drone services page, and again if you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
DJI Phantom 3
The Phantom 3 quadcopter is an aerial videography masterpiece. It comes fully equipped with a 3-axis gimbal mount and a 4K camera capable of capturing the most astounding 12 MP pictures and stabilized, clear video footage.
With the DJI pilot app you can program this drone to auto take-off, land, and return home by using the failsafe protection in case the battery is running low or you lose control range. It’s designed to detect sign, even before you do and will automatically descend to 60 feet and fly in a straight line back to its original starting point, land safely, and power off. Also, with the Intelligent Orientation Control feature, this commercial drone’s tail is pointed directly at the pilot at all times to avoid loss of navigation.
A rechargeable 6000mAh LiPo battery provides a flight time of 23 minutes and a flight distance of 1.2 miles. The battery itself slides into the rear of the copter and 4 LED light indicators alert the pilot of the flight time remaining without having to consult the app.
As a professional drone, it also comes with tethering abilities which allow you to connect live monitoring or FPV using the integrated Lightbridge Ground Station Support to your Android or iOS device via a USB port.
DJI Inspire 1
Another great commercial drone is the DJI Inspire 1. As with the Phantom 3, it comes equipped with a 3-axis gimbal and a 4K camera allowing the same video and photo capabilities. As an added bonus, the Inspire 1 also has retractable arms which allow a 360° unobstructed view. A 16GB memory card is included and records your camera shots internally. In addition, 720p live video can be transported to your mobile device using the Lightbridge app.
The Inspire 1 has a highly functional aerodynamic design that not only looks great, but also reduces resistance and increases battery life. With only 18 minutes of flight time per charge, this drone is not desirable for longer jobs. However, the Optical flow technology creates stabilization with precise movement indoors using the quick response controls.
One of the really nice features the DJI Inspire 1 has is the dual transmitter control function. This feature allows one person to fly the drone and the other to control the gimbal and the camera. Also, with the DJI app control software you can create autopilot functions, flight telemetry, and manual camera control. However, you must be connected via USB to your tablet and have an internet connection.
DJI Matrice 100
The DJI Matrice 100 is one of the few commercial drones available that can be equipped with a feature called “Guidance”. The “Guidance” system is utilized for inflight object avoidance – a very important feature even for the most experienced pilots. It uses ultrasonic sensors and stereo cameras to detect if the commercial drone is getting too close to an object that in effect can cause serious damage.
This particular quadcopter can handle an extensive payload, and has one of the longest flight times available on the market. The dual battery compartments allow for an impressive 40 minutes of air time and can fly up to 1.2 miles away. Additional expansion bays make it possible for you to customize your craft for balance and agility as well as incorporate other components.
Constructed out of strong, durable carbon fiber, the Matrice 100 is equipped with quick release landing pads that absorb the shock of landing, or an unintentional take-off. Equally important is the advanced GPS navigation system which allows you to track your commercial drone efficiently in real-time.
Because of all these advanced functions and features, the Matrice 100 is the perfect choice for any business looking to break into the drone business.
Not a quadcopter, but an octocopter, the DJI s1000 has 8 self-storing portable arms that can be easily folded down for convenient storage or transportation. This makes it easy to lock them into place for flight and helps keep the drone in top shape.
This particular copter was designed specifically for commercial use as it is equipped with a heavy duty Zenmuse Z15 gimbal. The Zenmuse Z15 is capable of handling a heavier payload such as a Cannon 5D Mark II or Mark III, or any other compatible camera. It’s also mounted lower to prevent obstructed views.
A DJI A2 controller, paired with an iOSD onscreen display and DJI Lightbridge 2.4G HD digital video downlink provide optimal control. Equally important is the multi-rotor, autopilot feature which makes it ideal for the videographer by maintaining stability when flying and hovering.
Flight time for this particular copter is 15 minutes, more than likely due to the size and payload capacity. The DJI s1000 is still extremely powerful, especially for a large commercial drone. The V type mixer design, 4114 pro motors, and the 1552 propellers give the s1000 a maximum thrust of 2.5g. Even if a loss of a rotor were to take place, the octocopter will still remain steady in flight.
3DR Robotic Solo
This highly technologically advanced drone with camera is capable of flying a ½ mile of controlled distance and 25 minutes of flight time. In addition, the 3-axis gimbal retains the stability of the camera while in motion. Specific settings on the remote control device allow for programmed autopilot features called the Cable Cam. This particular function has operator controlled settings such as hands-free, orbital configuration and a follow me mode, which keeps the camera focused on the user at all times. Basically, the drone does what it’s programmed to do, while the pilot can freely operate the camera. The Solo also incorporates a neat additional feature: HD live video streaming uses your GoPro camera and your Android or iOS device to deliver real-time footage immediately.
Not only is this quadcopter able to provide stunning aerial cinematography and photography, it’s categorized as a smart drone because the mobile flight control/system app offers the illusion that the drone is equipped with a brain. With this app the 3DR Robotic Solo can auto take-off, land, return home, and pause in mid-air.
The Smart Battery comes with LED indicator lights to track battery life. In addition, the 880 KV motor gives the copter a perfect combination of speed and torque for lifting a heavier payloads.
Uses For Commercial Drones
- Commercial Photography: Several commercial photographers and cinematographers have taken their business to the air. Specific drones with built in autopilot and highly advanced applications create the ideal platform for taking phenomenal aerial shots with precise clarity at extreme angles. These type of shots were not capable of being produced for the average business owner. Whether you’re taking photos or videos for the real-estate market, or shooting for a magazine, these copters bring a whole new meaning to the words “ground control”.
- Public Safety and Service: Police and Fire personnel are utilizing these miniature flying machines for rescue operations and surveillance. Drones have the capability to go into places where it was almost impossible or too dangerous to access previously. Instead of placing personnel into immediate danger drones can scope out the situation prior to commencing operations.
- Media: As we know, the media photographers love to creep in for the best shot. Their only means of getting that unique shot was from helicopters. Now, they can utilize drones to capture action footage, such as a high speed chase or take down.
- Agriculture: Farmers are beginning to get the picture, literally. They now incorporate the use of drones for crop management such as growth monitoring and UAV scouting of soil and dirt levels. Check out our full list of agricultural drones for sale to learn more.
- Wildlife Conservation: Drones allow conservationists to monitor species populations and get the ultra-quiet copters into certain areas without disturbing the wildlife.
- Internet Service: This advanced technological use of a drone would create internet service to the most remote parts of the world. Facebook is developing a solar-powered drone that was capable of delivering internet services and for 5 years, remain airborne and relocatable.
- Delivery: Still in development and testing stages, drones may be taking over the role of delivery drivers by delivering products to customers via unmanned aircraft. This in turn would cut out the middle man and save the company money; however, it could cause the standard UPS driver their job.
When drones were first recognized for their commercial capabilities, it wasn’t the general population who grasped at the opportunity, it was the military. The military capitalized on the potential of drones by using them for their covert spy capabilities. However, the unmanned drones the military incorporated are nothing like the quadcopter and octocopters we see in the civilian world. Even though they are unmanned, and controlled in basically the same way, military drones are a fixed wing aircraft and have the capability of flying extreme distances for longer periods of time.
Commercial drones are becoming a business investment of the present and the future. Advanced technology has come a long ways and right now we are in the height of computerized inventions such as unmanned aerial drones. When we combine business with innovation, we excel in our productivity and advance far beyond our normal capabilities. Commercial drones will eventually be utilized in more and more corporation and business venture. Despite the controversy and FAA regulations for copters, drone technological developments will continue to advance. If you’re thinking about keeping up with the competition, you may want to think about a commercial drone.