4 Interesting Business Applications of Drone Technology
Until recently, the application of drone technology was limited and less explored due to the high costs and technical limitations involved. The federal aviation administration’s (FAA’s) 2016 adoption of regulations – coupled with the drop in price – has made drones an economically viable option for a broad range of commercial functions. Modern businesses have […]
Until recently, the application of drone technology was limited and less explored due to the high costs and technical limitations involved. The federal aviation administration’s (FAA’s) 2016 adoption of regulations – coupled with the drop in price – has made drones an economically viable option for a broad range of commercial functions. Modern businesses have realized that the drone technology has multiple commercial applications, some of which go beyond basic surveillance, photography, or videos, and they are already using them to transform daily work in some industries. Like the internet and GPS preceding them, drone technology is evolving beyond their military origin to become a powerful business tool. They’ve already leaped the consumer market, and now they’re being put to work in commercial and civil government applications from firefighting to farming. That’s creating a market opportunity that’s far too large to ignore. We have identified four drone applications that would revolutionize operations in various industries:
Farming is usually done on large tracts of land that cannot be easily monitored. With the help of drone technology, farmers can benefit from real-time information about the agricultural land. Drone applications in the agriculture sector include tracking water use, crop health, heat signatures, and soil analysis. Expensive aerial surveillance that could previously only be done occasionally with planes can now be completed weekly or even daily with drones that cost only hundreds of dollars.
Maintenance and infrastructure
Drone applications for inspecting the existing infrastructure can be cheaper, faster, and more importantly safer. For instance, the New York Power Authority leveraged drone technology to inspect an ice boom near Lake Erie. Examining one of these ice booms costs typically $3,300 to send a boat or $3,500 to send a helicopter to perform the task, but deploying a drone cost them cost less than $300. Several energy companies like Southern Company and Duke Energy are using drone technology to inspect power lines, power plants, and storm damage.
A real-time aerial inspection allows for the ability to survey sites or catch mistakes quickly. In fact, studies have shown that accidents on construction sites monitored by drones reduced by up to 91%. Caterpillar, one of the largest construction equipment manufacturers in the world, has invested in drone startup Airware this year. The drone technology can be used for inspecting roofs, construction sites, mining operations, and utilities.
Inventory and warehousing
Using drones to scan thousand of crops in a field quickly is quite similar to using drones to browse thousands of items in a warehouse. So it is a highly viable option for large retailers to adopt similar drone technology for measuring their inventory levels. For example, one of the largest retailers in the world, Wal-Mart, has been testing the use of drones in its warehouses to check and flag missing items. According to the company, drones flying through the warehouse can do a full inventory check in a day, a task that currently takes a month for people to do manually.
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