Sky-High Service: Drones for Commercial Use
Would it be confusing to say we’re in on the ground floor for a sky-high service?
It may sound a little complicated but that is just where Draper Aden Associates’ Darren Goodbar has placed the firm. Director of DAA’s Aerial Services and Piedmont Virginia Community College’s (PVCC) co-instructor of the schools unmanned aerial systems program, Darren is bridging the gap between academic research and direct application.
PVCC is the first college in the US to conduct research and development using small unmanned aerial systems (UAV) for public safety purposes. In June, the Virginia Unmanned Systems (UMS) Commission approved its recommendations to the Governor to increase business opportunities for the use of unmanned systems in the Commonwealth. These recommendations include funding the continued expansion of UAV to be used by first responders in life-saving applications in Virginia.
The PVCC course is promoting usage of drones for public safety but the practice is taking off in the private sector due to the enhancement of existing services and the provision of new ones.
A hovering UAV offers unique perspectives unavailable to conventional aircraft, and because drones fly low with variable speed they can capture many data points and produce detailed, accurate maps. Using UAVs can, also, offer a safer alternative than sending employees into a potentially hazardous work environment.
Once it’s unloaded, a UAV can be launched in minutes. Whether you’re inspecting a landfill, measuring a right-of-way or documenting project progress, you can be up, take your pictures and back down in a fraction of the time it takes to set up traditional surveying equipment or traverse a project area.
Top uses include inspection, measurement, documentation, and analysis. Because of their small size and weight, UAVs can usually be loaded, deployed and operated by one person cutting down on using multiple workers for the same outcome.
Progress of the development and usage of drones have evolved from WWII military training and research to modern day commercial usage–from delivering a package to taking a photo to pinpointing a building placement.
There could be 7 million small drones in the sky by 2020, according to U.S. aviation officials, who believe that as many as 2.7 million of them will be used for commercial purposes, as cited by the Insurance Journal, an online publication.
Draper Aden Associate has already made steps to see that future happen. We’ve left the ground and the potential is limitless.