If you’re like many companies currently looking to innovate and grow, your company may be in need of drone services for ongoing or one-time projects. Perhaps you’re interested in purchasing an aircraft or maybe a whole fleet. You’re here because you realize that there are a lot of important decisions to make. Do you need a commercial drone, or might you opt for something smaller? What kind of sensors and cameras might your drone need, and how fast should it fly? 35 miles per hour? 50? Should I purchase a commercial drone or hire drone services?
These are all legitimate questions if you’re unsure how drone services can help your business. Luckily, we can help guide you through this fact-finding mission, and if you’re sure that you’re ready to take the leap into the diverse world of drone services, fill out the contact form below and let us help you out. I guarantee our expertise will help you make the decision your business needs.
Best Drones for Commercial Applications?
You might not yet be interested in careening through the canyons of these finer details. So first, let’s hover over some of the main industries that use drones in ways you might not have expected.
Yes, drones have entered most facets of our lives, programmed and operated by forward-thinking businesses looking to perform high-precision tasks. The Federation of American Scientists reports that roughly 90 companies in the U.S. alone manufacture unmanned aircraft. Real estate, agriculture, mass media, engineering, and digital mapping are all areas in which lightweight, efficient unmanned aircraft operate.
In each case, flight paths are written into software, sometimes with the drone’s owner monitoring and even modifying flights via their computer. In fact, many drones you see in the air are simply controlled through a smart phone. Most functions we’ll be discussing involve video or still cameras mounted on the aircraft, used to collect data not very possible otherwise. What you’ll see below may inspire you in a way that will elevate your business!
Real Estate Drone Services
Commercial use of drones is sanctioned by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for several industries, including all the ones discussed here. Real estate is a blossoming use of drone services and continues to grow.
The benefits of aerial photography provide a ready-made demand in the real estate industry, which has long used helicopters to photograph parcels of land and buildings. Drone aircraft get it done much less expensively and much more efficiently.
Unmanned aircraft can fly much lower than full-sized helicopters, which means they are perfectly designed to photograph the nooks and crannies of shopping centers, malls, and neighborhoods. In fact, they can scope out undeveloped land. The detailed and comprehensive photos produced this way are invaluable to the real estate pro, both for evaluating spaces and for showing them to clients.
Keep in mind that unmanned craft can often record video, and many real estate agents have taken advantage of this to give potential buyers not only the specs of what they’ll be purchasing, but the larger context. Real estate agents can show potential clients the spectacular view from their future digs.
A recent panel discussion in D.C. included the fact that nearly half of recent applications for FAA commercial permits are for real estate use.
Agriculture Drone Services
When people think of the use of aircraft in agriculture, they picture chemicals being sprayed through the summer air. In fact, this is one use of drones in the agricultural sector. About a year ago, the FAA approved the Yamaha RMAX for this purpose. The RMAX dwarfs many drones—it’s twelve feet long, with a cockpit big enough for an adult squirrel, and it weighs in at 55 pounds.
The key concept of crop-dusting agricultural drones is precision. This allows farmers to use less of the chemicals in question, and also limits unwanted exposure for farm staff.
But perhaps a larger and emerging area in which drones are valuable in agriculture is the collection of data. It’s easy for drones to shoot photos of an entire farm, with which detailed maps can be made. Further, data collected by our drone services can help farmers detect diseases or lack of nutrition in their crops. Here, the technology in play is sensors, which can measure some of these problems. In short, the drones can see and photograph things not visible to the naked eye. The data is then uploaded and analyzed by apps, allowing farmers to put it to its best use. In fact, the heat-seeking technology in play can actually help farmers detect illness in some livestock.
Some of the drones used for agricultural data-gathering purposes are small, light, and simple to use.
Mass Media Drone Services
In 2011, the University of Nebraska established the Drone Journalism Lab to investigate uses of the unmanned aircraft in news gathering.
More recently, a group of ten media organizations, including the Washington Post and CNN, explored further options for journalists. As with some of the other industries interested in drones, journalists are drawn to drones’ ability to go where manned aircraft can’t, catching video and photos of fires, earthquake sites, even riots.
Therefore, news organizations that can’t afford traffic copters could instead opt for a less-expensive drone aircraft and keep themselves competitive. In fact, with modest investments, freelance photojournalists and others can develop a niche by offering hard-to-get aerial images. Here’s a great video of a drone equipped with a Phantom 3 Pro surveying the glorious sights of New York City.
Engineering Drone Services
Engineering is all about planning. When an engineer is plotting a project to construct, no matter what it is, there can often be unknowns concerning materials, space, or other physical conditions. To the rescue come drone aircraft, which can use their sensors to gather information not otherwise possible.
One specific use for unmanned vehicles is evaluating the condition of infrastructure, using SLAM, simultaneous localization and mapping.
The red-green-blue cameras mounted on drones have the ability to locate cracks in concrete and other materials. For example, one unmanned flight over Lake Okeechobee ferreted out dangerous erosion in the Herbert Hoover Dike. The resolution of the images created by drone aircraft is much higher than that of traditional aerial photography.
Environmental engineers can use photos from UAVs to monitor changes in the condition of a particular ecosystem over time. However, the possibilities for use in engineering are limited only by one’s imagination. A Penn St. aerospace engineering professor is using drone aircraft to mimic the flight of the albatross, which will allow him to learn more about it.
Indeed, many engineering students learn valuable principles by designing and manufacturing drone aircraft. Thus, the benefits of drones to engineers are wide-ranging and versatile.
Digital Mapping Drone Services
Digital mapping is probably the use of drones that is most developed and in popular practice today. As mentioned above, unmanned craft can get relatively close to ground and can navigate some difficult spaces. They can also create very high-resolution images, which is an asset that makes them indispensable for mapping.
Generally, images (referred to by mappers as data) collected by the drones are fed into sophisticated software that generates the kind of maps needed. These maps can play their roles in many of the fields listed above, including agriculture.
One of the exciting areas of digital mapping is the creation of 3D representations. One area in which this applies is land development and construction. Previously, executives in these fields had to take their data to engineers for interpretation. Now, however, the high-res photos from drones can be transformed into 3D pictures of the topography of tricky terrains. Anyone can interpret these maps, and that cuts down on time and expense. As another example, one research team used UAVs to map a 25-square kilometer region of the eastern Tibetan Plateau.
Drones are now becoming more and more prominent in the area of Lidar, light detecting and ranging, which allows for the building op topographic and similar maps showing contours of areas. The technology implements the rapid fire of lasers from the sensor to its target, thus building up a map of the contours of the area. This can get as specific as showing the steepness of slopes, and the technology is valuable due to its high degree of accuracy. Drones are perfect for this use and our drone services will help you achieve the maps you need.
You may have a project that can call for a drone aircraft, or you may need to find out from experts if a drone can do what you’re planning. We can help you in these areas, and may be able to guide you in designing your project and its inclusion of drones.
There are far too many uses of drones for us to spell out here. Even if you’re not in an industry described above, you may have an analogous use. Whatever ideas you have, please reach out to us and ask us how we can help with drone services. We have a wide variety of aircraft for a wide variety of uses.