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Drones for Business Use

Over the past several years businesses have cultivated new and interesting ways to add drone technology to their critical tasks. Amazon Prime Air Service is planning to offer fast delivery turnarounds with a drone prototype. Shell Oil Refinery uses drones to complete safety and compliance inspections. Walmart applied for a patented drone system to carry items around the store. And the British Broadcast Company (BBC) uses drones in order to broadcast events happening in real-time.

These companies are just examples of how business leaders have utilized unmanned aerial vehicles to bolster sales, get a jump on the competition, and be an innovator in the area of drone technology. Is your company considering using drones for transport, surveillance, safety, imaging, or any other reason?

The idea of using unmanned aerial vehicles is not a new one. In fact, the earliest unmanned aerial vehicle in the history of drones was seen in 1839, when Austrian soldiers attacked the city of Venice with unmanned balloons filled with explosives. As you can imagine, some of the balloons hit their targets, while others did not. Even then, drones had dangers associated with them.

Today’s businesses are looking for any means necessary to get ahead, cut costs, and make a name for themselves. Drones may fit the bill in many of those instances. However, there are some caveats to drone flying. Drone flying must meet the requirements put forth by the FAA – Federal Aviation Authority. Some of these requirements include an age requirement of 16, a remote pilot’s certificate, passing the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) vetting process, meeting a weight limit, conducting a pre-flight check, obtaining an operating license depending on the class of drone, and a myriad of flying rules once in the air.

In more recent news, commercial airline pilots have complained about having near misses with drones upon landing or having drones flying in restricted space. Know Before You Fly is a great place to start if you are looking for more requirements and regulations when it comes to drone use for your business. It is a great resource to connect with before you begin your business drone planning.

Are you considering integrating drone use into your business? We suggest checking out our seminar on May 13 entitled “Drones for Municipalities: What You Need to Know in Order to Fly (Hands-on Workshop).” Check out all of Enterprise Center’s seminars on our events page.

 

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Pros and Cons of Drones for Business

Drones have been all over the news as of late.  They are a hot button topic that has stirred up may questions about their use.  How will they impact business?  What kind of safety issues should businesses and individuals be concerned about?  Are they a violation of privacy? How can my company use drones?  The federal government has been looking at just these kinds of questions to formulate regulations that will allow for business development while at the same time providing safety and privacy guidelines.  Let’s look at some of the potential pros and cons of drones in business as this fledgling service “takes flight”.

Pros

  • Better for the environment – A single, battery-powered drone traveling to bring your order versus a large emissions-spewing delivery truck is a vast improvement when it comes to emissions and energy efficiency. (TreeHugger)
  • Positive Economic Impact – A recent study estimates over the 10 year span from 2015 to 2025 UAV integration within national air space will account for $82.1 billion in job creation and economic growth. Over a ten year span, job creation from commercial drone use will consist primarily of manufacturing jobs. Notably, commercial use of drones will predominantly affect agriculture and public safety more so than commerce. Due to the ability to cover large areas, drone use in agriculture is anticipated to effectively feed and hydrate plants while also limiting exposure to diseases. (Investopedia)
  • Physical Access to Hard-to-reach places – Drones can assist in law enforcement, farming, media coverage, and maintenance to areas that are difficult to reach manually.
  • Business Growth – Depending upon the industry, business can grow exponentially whether it is in the area of providing service, delivery of products, photography or just for fun!

 

Cons

  • Privacy Concerns – The drone will use GPS to find your house and will almost definitely have a camera in order to safely land and navigate its surroundings.  It is unlikely that this information will be used in nefarious ways but privacy protections may need to be implemented.
  • Physical Safety – Questions have been raised about using drones near airports and causing dangerous situations.  Other questions have been raised about the impact on predatory birds that may see drones as a threat.
  • Legal Issues – Permits and Logistics may be costly or time consuming depending upon the guidelines that will be put forth by the FAA and the Federal Government.