The construction industry is leading in drone use among companies with revenues of $50 million or more, according to a report by Blue Research on behalf of Skyward.

“One of the things we really struggled with was figuring out how companies are using drones. Much of the research out there focused on hobbyists, the military, etc.,” said Skyward president Mariah Scott in the company’s webinar titled Drones in Big Business: The State of Drones at $50M+.

Drones can have specific uses related to fenestration. For example, Derek Waleko, the owner and founder of drone service provider Up Sonder, says in a blog post on his company’s website that footage from drones can be used to help change the color of doors and windows.

In addition to that, they can also be used to inspect windows that have been installed in high-rise multifamily construction, and many companies use drone footage in marketing materials.

The 2018 State of Commercial Drone Use Report focused on how companies are using and adopting drones and potential return on investment (ROI) across all commercial industries.

The companies surveyed for the report said they are using drones to capture more information, be more efficient and save time.

According to the report, 10 percent of companies are already using drones. Another 2 percent plan to start using drones before the end of 2018 and another 7 percent plan to use drones in the future. Drone use could grow from 10 to 19 percent among large companies.

Adoption was the highest in the construction and engineering industries, with 35 percent of companies using drones. Only 6 percent of manufacturing companies use drones.

The report concluded that drone adopters rarely listed company buy-in as a challenge to starting a drone program.

Close to 40 percent of companies outsource their drone program with a fifth outsourcing with respect to flights, 16 percent outsourcing the data processing and nearly a quarter of respondents outsourcing data analysis.

“Sixty-three percent are not outsourcing any of these activities. This number was much higher than expected. It’s very encouraging about the ability of large companies to incorporate new technology, said Scott.

According to Paul Abel, managing partner at Blue Research, 92 percent of large companies reported that the drone benefit exceeds its cost.

The amount of time to see a positive ROI was a year or less for 88 percent of companies. Of large companies already using drones, 46 percent reported that their bottom line would suffer if drones were taken away.

Almost all the companies said that drones allow them to capture more information, save time and increase efficiency. Seventy-five percent of companies said drones allow them to increase worker safety and 71 percent said they have gained a competitive advantage.

The key challenges of implementing a drone program are staying up-to-date on laws and regulations, ensuring internal policies/procedures are followed and obtaining access to controlled airspace quickly.

Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC), a collaboration between the Federal Aviation Administration and commercial industries, aims to give companies the ability to access controlled airspace quickly with software. Instead of 60 to 90 days for a request to be processed, it could happen in real time with the program. LAANC is still in the beta phase.

According to Matt Fanelli, director of strategy at Skyward, Part 107, the drone pilot license, renewals will be updated beginning in August 2018. Part 107 renewals must occur every two years and the test must be taken at an Airman Knowledge Testing Center.

Updates include the removal of sections on weather, loading and performance. The test is instead opting for more emphasis on waivers, aeronautical decision making and emergency procedures.

1 Comment

  1. I am curious as to what drones are these companies actually using? Like brand names? Any insight?

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