Commercial use of drones involves inspection and monitoring infrastructure, equipment, pipelines, sites in industries. Drones are an economical, safe, and accessible way to take aerial photos and videos. Industries that use drones can gather and analyze data, deliver goods and inspect inaccessible areas, and so much more.
Drone technology is also a valuable asset because of its potential to help companies build up an integrated drone data program.
One of the significant advantages of a drone data program is that the documented data is permanent. Industries that use drones can perform YOY analysis using data from the drone as past references and make intelligent decisions for the future. The drone data storage also helps with assessing the health of equipment across multiple sites.
Check out how drones can help your business if you belong to any of these industries below.
Drone Technology in Agriculture:
The consumers at present are interested to know the origin of the foods they purchase. Consumers are also curious to see how the foods were grown with rising concerns about health issues. The farmers and agronomists worldwide struggle to improve resource management within tight budgets while meeting the increasing demands.
On top of that, climate change is adding layers of trouble in the agricultural industry, threatening the supply chain. The World Bank reported that 1/3 of foods are either lost or wasted due to the adverse effects of climate change.
So, there is a spike in interest to achieve climate-smart agriculture (CSA) across the globe. The CSA is an integrated effort built to manage landscapes, cropland, livestock, forests, and fisheries with emerging technology. The aim is to protect the goods produced from being wasted, saving money and time.
Drones in farming can battle this critical situation to implement climate-smart agriculture (CSA). They use drones to collect data on croplands. Farmers are shifting to drones in crop scouting from manual crop scouting to improve crop management.
Earlier farmers walked around the fields for days to manually observe the crops for primary data collection.
It was a traditional method of data collection and determining the areas that will require more attention and sampling.
Drones in crop scouting changed the scenario and minimized the process to 6-10 hours. Drones provide valuable data alongside visual proof points. Farmers use the data to detect the exact areas that need damage control applications against weeds, pests, and fungi. Farmers can also determine the input optimization of seeds, water, or fertilizers for areas needing improvement.
Now, farmers need to make lesser trips around the field by using drones in agriculture. Farmers are also improving variable-rate prescriptions in real-time and increasing the yield from a lot.
According to the World Bank report, we will need to produce about 70% more food by 2050 to feed about 9 billion people. Therefore, we need to integrate emerging technologies in agriculture to avoid food security crises in the future.
Commercial use of Drones in the Manufacturing Industry:
At present, only 2% of the manufacturing industry has deployed drones in the factories. It is because manufacturers are too slow to realize the application of drones in manufacturing.
Manufacturers can build up digital infrastructure with drones supported by the right technologies.
Operation managers can use drone infrared and thermal technology to detect the technical faults within machinery faster. Faster detection will help the operations manager repair it before it can shut down production. In addition, indoor drone technology can drive on-time repairs saving money and preventing waste of time from unplanned downtime.
Commercial use of drones can help operational managers, technicians, and workers focus on productive tasks. For instance, indoor drones can conduct inventory checks in lesser time by scanning radio frequency identification chips and barcodes.
Uses of drones in the packaging department are commendable. Drones are picking and packing in lesser time, minimizing human efforts. Moreover, drones are smart enough to move around warehouses, selecting products involuntarily. Then, they are moving the selected products to the packing area.
This automated service of drones is available for implementation. However, manufacturers haven’t realized the performance and benefits of this technology yet. The application of drones in manufacturing can increase productivity and growth.
Uses of Drones in Power Generation:
One of the significant benefits of drone inspection is that drone data capture is 99 percent accurate.
Measure, a drone manufacturer experimented with a power generation site. The purpose was to find out the speed and accuracy of drones compared to the crews. Measure compared the results and was astonished.
The crews came up with accurate data. However, the primary data collection after manual inspections of the site took two days. In contrast, the drones completed data capture in 2 hours with 99% accuracy. It proves that the time has come we should switch to commercial use of drones in the utility industry for maximized productivity.
The method of data collection by drones has proved to be fruitful. Drones are capable of providing the most accurate data ever. In the Wind, Transportation & Distribution industries the drone data collection is providing a wide range of data as listed below:
- Close-up and detailed captures of potential defects enabling the maintenance team to figure out the real issue causing it
- The close-up imagery helps to detect if the damage is at the surface level or it’s internal at the structural level
- Captured imagery from tower, pole, and turbine at any angle is available, which cannot be collected manually
- Can spot sub-module defects that crew cannot detect manually
All the detailed data help the asset managers make faster-repairing decisions before these can become unmanageable. In this way, power generation plants can reduce downtime and cut out unnecessary expenses and extensive replacements.
Industrial drones can monitor and inspect confined areas, which would have been difficult for humans to do.
Drones can also inspect hazardous areas like boilers at nuclear power plants protecting workers from radiation.
Impact of Drones in the chemical industry:
Commercial use of drones is now a reality in some largest chemical process industries (CPI). However, manufacturers are drones in the chemical industry for inspecting challenging equipment like flare stacks and large processing vessels in the plant.
Indoor drones can fly inside very constricted equipment structures and perform visual inspections, non-destructive testing (NDT), and collect data successfully. However, it means the manual review is an outdated method in the CPI.
However, future uses of drones will include emergency response, security management in the CPI.
Benefits of drones in the Mining Industry:
Traditional mining involves risky methods and has limited scope for safety assessments during mining operations. According to The World Counts report, more than 15,000 workers die in mining operations every year. It’s so deadly.
Mining operations begin with Stopes for ore extraction after big blasts. The stopes are unstable, and large rocks hanging within them can fall at any time. Traditional methods cannot conduct safety assessments or help to decide the stability of the area. Miners are even clueless about how to proceed with the operations due to the risks involved. However, using drones for mining exploration can tackle the threats hundred percent.
Indoor drones are transforming mining operations, making them safer and effective. Indoor flying drones can enter the stopes and collect high-quality geo-referenced images and videos of the area. The imageries are quickly transformed into 3D modeling of the site and can calculate volumes and perform site surveys.
The use of drones for mining exploration is paying off. Commercial use of drones is helping miners to design road layouts before proceeding with operations. In addition, it allows the miners to understand the condition inside the Stopes better.
Impact of Drones in the Oil & Gas industry:
The oil and gas industries have heavily invested in assets for their upstream, mainstream, and downstream operations. Therefore, tactical asset management can go a long way financially with drones in the energy sector.
Today, oil and gas companies integrated indoor drone-based data collection, processing, and reporting into operational systems for better asset management.
Asset management in the oil and gas industries is a demanding job. It requires hundred percent clarity, focus, and conscious spontaneity. So, using flying drones can increase resource efficiency and reduce downtime.
The history of developing drone technology dates back to the time of the First World War. USA and Britain were the first two nations to build drones. The purpose was to keep military pilots out of dangerous missions and save lives. Commercial use of drones began in 2006, but applications were slow to start.
However, with the development of small drones, many industries are using UAVs in their regular operations. Thanks to the rising popularity of digital transformation trends.
As the industrial 4.0 revolution speeds up, companies are opting-in for UAV systems for flexibility and growth. According to the Markets and Markets report, the UAV industry will reach almost $ 52.30 billion by 2025.
Industries may have become aware of drones recently. Still, we can feel the heat of the evolving commercial drone market. Grand View Research reported drone market would expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 57.5% from 2021 to 2028.
Industries can derive massive improvement in productivity, monitoring procedures, and compliance from drone data storage. Therefore, companies adopting industrial drones earlier will be more beneficial compared to late users in the future.
We have entered the 4.0 industrial revolution. So, the success of companies will depend on how well they are embracing and utilizing transformational technology in their everyday operations.