As technology has advanced, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – better known as drones – are becoming more accessible and affordable. While still a fairly new thing (in their modern guise), they’re certainly getting more and more coverage in the media of late, so we thought we’d take a look at some cleverly creative and commercial uses of drones – and the pros and cons of using them.
If you’re thinking of using drones for commercial or personal purposes, you’ll need to make sure that you operate them in line with the law. Safety and privacy are governed by specific legislation in relation to these gadgets, but they’re evolving all the time so you’ll need to keep up-to-date.
Examples of businesses using drones
Historically, drones were developed for military purposes, but as a world of tech-lovers, they’ve since been adapted for less nefarious purposes! Current and potential commercial uses of drones include:
- Logistics – delivery drones are the next big thing, used by companies like Amazon, DHL and Royal Mail.
- Film and photography – from recording documentary footage to capturing aerial views of breaking news stories, they’re being used much more frequently by businesses and the media now.
- Surveillance – a whole new meaning to ‘eye in the sky’, drones can be and are used for security and policing purposes.
- Agriculture and wildlife – drones can be used for observing and monitoring crops, or surveying and counting wildlife populations.
- Safety inspections – Shell and easyJet are two of the many companies using drones to access hard to reach places more efficiently to carry out inspections – they’ve even used them during the build of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona to scan and check the exterior!
The pros and cons of drones
Like anything, there are good points and bad points to using drones – here are a few of the main pros and cons to consider before you invest in a potentially pricey piece of kit!
Environmentally friendly – battery powered rather than fuel hungry.
Cost-effective – can reduce staff costs over time, bringing a ROI.
Always operational – they don’t need to sleep or take breaks!
Improved access – they can get to tricky places much more efficiently than humans.
Reduced risk – letting drones do dangerous jobs is preferable to a manned solution.
Limited capabilities – they can’t think or communicate like humans can.
Legal limitations – you can’t fly them in certain areas.
Safety – there are concerns they can distract, frighten or endanger people and birds
Training – you need someone skilled to operate them effectively
Expensive – the initial outlay can be very high depending on the type you need.
Depending on your industry, using drones for commercial purposes can be a great idea with loads of benefits – but like with any new strategy or approach, you’ll need to carefully weigh up the pros and cons before you decide if it’s the right move for you.