Drones are becoming more and more commonly used by companies to carry out tasks, serve customers, and hit quotas. Adding this technology to your business model will, without a doubt, change things for the better. Whether you’re running a business centered around photography and videography, oil and energy, or e-commerce, drones are certainly a good technological equipment investment.
Getting Started and Keeping It Going
In order to use drones for business on a consistent basis without being fined or shut down by the Federal Aviation Administration, you need to know the rules and regulations associated with this technology. Once that is figured out, you need to determine which drone will work for your company and why. Here are some examples of challenges large corporations faced and ways they figured out how to use drones most efficiently to accelerate business operations.
Walmart has a patented drone system to organize and carry items around stores for staff. Each store that uses drones will have a computer system that functions as automated air traffic control to direct paths and dispatch drones. Built-in sensors help their drones remain cognizant of proximity to others and avoid collisions.
While customers are browsing through shelves, drones can transport products through different departments. This is especially useful for superstores because they are so massive it would take a long time for employees to stock shelves.
During store hours drones can still be deployed to replenish sold-out products and bring items to customers. The concept is to have a designated path for drones above display areas and shelves to avoid flying over customers as a safety hazard.
Adding drones to the workforce will allow employees to focus on improving customer experience and repurpose human resources. Walmart has been granted the patent but hasn’t launched in-store drone initiatives yet.
Shale and Oil Site Exploration
Oil companies are always looking for ways to prevent catastrophic spills and other issues from happening. Shell Oil Refinery has started using drones as an innovative way to inspect safety and follow compliance protocol.
In partnership with GE venture Avitas Systems, Shell is continuously developing surveillance drones ideal for multi-mission efficiency. Shell’s drones are equipped with electronic sensors and high-resolution cameras to scope out drilling corridors to identify risks. Not only does this reduce the time of excavation but it creates jobs for licensed remote pilots and others.
The main functions of their fleet of drones are monitoring asset conditions and problem mitigation. Operators can dedicate more time to maintenance tasks and automate overlooking hectares of assets.
Initially, Shell was restricted by U.S. regulations to stay within pilots’ vision, limiting their geographic range and operational capabilities. In September, the FAA granted approval to navigate drones through the air for civil use Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS), with radar assistance as a requirement.
In 2019, retail behemoth Amazon started using its in-house-designed MK 27 drones for deliveries. After getting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, their strategy to decrease delivery time and improve customer satisfaction became implemented. Rolling out this program globally has made frequent Amazon shoppers even more inclined to keep purchasing.
Amazon is the first company to pilot a fully autonomous fleet of drones with in-house programmed artificial intelligence and machine learning. Safety is the main priority when drones are en route. They are equipped with plenty of sensors to make sure crashes or other bad things don’t happen. Drones could run into trees, phone lines, power lines, pets, and other humans before reaching your doorstep.
Drone delivery by Air Service is only available to loyal Amazon Prime Members. One and a half hours is the benchmark delivery turnaround time goal. Same-day shipping has been made more frequent by using drones.
Air Carriage Service
Wing is a third-party delivery solution owned by Google parent company Alphabet that brings deliverable products right to your front doorstep. Partnership with local businesses allows them to do deliveries of coffee from baristas, groceries from the market, pharmaceutical products, and tools from the hardware store.
When it comes to online purchases that arrive in no time; Wing is perhaps the only company giving Amazon a run for their money. Drones by Wing are also all designed in-house.
For the epic Supreme x Louis Vuitton collaboration, L-vision was brought on board to film a series of aerial footage for Instagram video content. Deep New York City roots make their role in street culture indispensable and this project a no-brainer. Visual aesthetic expertise has allowed L-Vision to also work with Vice on news and commercial content covering a plethora of topics on numerous occasions.
When it comes to drones their arsenal is stacked. The drones used in-house are as follows: Freefly Alta, DJI Inspire 2, Phantom 4 Pro Plus, and DJI Mavic 2 Pro. They’re a great example for anybody seeking to get started into photo and film.
Finding What’s Right for You
As noted above, most corporations play a large role in the hardware and sometimes software development of drones used by their companies to tailor features to their needs. For the average startup founder, this is not an option. No worries, there’s a way to figure out which drones will work for your situation.
Dronepedia specializes in comparisons and detailed reviews with information to help simplify the process of delegating which drone will work best for your company. Their database has information about over 120 drones.
Price range is not a problem. Regardless of your company’s budget, there is something for everybody. For the frugal, there are smaller devices under $50. Big spenders can blow over $1000 on multipurpose premium drones which will last years.
When it comes to premium drones, in January of 2020, Autel released Evo 2, a direct competitor to the DJI Mavic 2. It has the potential to take over consumer drone market share. This is considered one of the best options for professional-level photographers and videographers.
The reason being is because it has the highest resolution with the fastest frames per second (best for slow motion). Capable of recording multiple frame rates & resolutions; at highest capacity, it records 8K video at 25 fps, 6K at 30 fps, or 4K at 30 or 60 fps with a bit rate of up to 120 Mbps. There is no other consumer drone beating that. However, for different shooters, there are different nuanced needs.
For those of you just starting out, picking the right drone can be confusing. All of the different models, variations, and factors are headache-inducing. Hopefully, the information provided in this post will make that decision easier.