Getting Started With Drones: What Business Leaders Need To Know

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Many people simply see drones as a toy or a military machine. To others, drones may seem like an annoyance or an invasion of privacy. However, much of the public perception has yet to fully understand and appreciate that drones — better referred to as small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) — offer boundless capabilities, especially in commercial applications. Though you’ve probably heard about drones delivering packages for Amazon, UPS and Google, that’s just one simple way of how drones are transforming business.

My interest in drones began in June 2012 after reading an article in Wired called “Here Come The Drones.” I learned everything I could about them for the next three months, and the common wisdom at the time was that drones were primarily used for taking photos and videos from interesting aerial perspectives. Early adopters saw the business potential to produce wonderful real estate presentations.

However, with a lifetime career in the computer industry, I immediately believed that drones are the best data collection systems ever invented. In most manufacturing environments today, for example, there are a large number of parts, components and sub-assemblies in warehouses, and drones fly around autonomously in warehouses to help manage inventory. 

Read more: What Secretary Pete’s confirmation means for drone regulation

As we’re beginning to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, organizations are beginning to reassess how the pandemic has changed their businesses. Certainly, we’re seeing employees working from home, videoconferencing and less business travel. Many forward-thinking organizations, however, are beginning to realize how they can use drones to save cost and time as well as improve job safety and receive a positive ROI from sUAS use. A recent study suggests that 88% of companies see a positive ROI from drones in one year or less. 

How To Get Started With Drones

When adopting drone technology, you must first understand regulatory requirements from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). When using drones for commercial applications, all pilots must have an FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot certification. All flight systems also need to be registered with the FAA, understanding the National Airspace restrictions and access and filing operational wavers with the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) system. This is largely due to the fact that most metropolitan cities have major airports nearby and, therefore, have a restricted airspace surrounding them for five miles in every direction. In order to fly in that restricted airspace, you must receive a waiver or authorization from both the FAA and that airport. 

Other technical requirements include flight system selection and camera choices, sensor selection for infrared, lidar, among others including flight system use cases, pilot proficiency testing, maintenance logs and enterprise aviation management tools.

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Source: Brian Pitre

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