Why Enterprise Drone Training Creates Smarter Drone Programs

Drone Training Goes Beyond Certification

So, you’ve decided to add drones to your organization. That’s a great first step!

Like many other companies out there, you’re probably weighing the benefits of an in-house drone program vs. outsourcing.

If you do a quick Google search — which might be how you got here — you’ll find a long list of consultants looking to sell drones and help remote pilots pass the initial drone operator certification test.

Sure, those consultants serve their purpose. But, more often than not, the services they offer are limited in scope. Whether it’s the A2 CofC, Part 107, or other UAV operators’ licenses, remote pilot certification is only the beginning.

Within the UAV industry, several courses exist beyond certification. Some of the most powerful applications undertaken by drone pilots require specialized training to remain both safe and compliant with air traffic laws. Furthermore, additional training will allow you to tap into the full potential offered by adding UAVs to your organization.

Why Additional Drone Training Is Necessary

In most countries, initial drone certification tests are designed to ensure that operators have a basic understanding of aerodynamics, weather, regulations, and safety.

While that certification is essential, it fails to unlock many of the potential uses and benefits of drones.

The most beneficial drone applications — such as aerial surveying, precision agriculture, and utility inspections — require additional training. In order to perform certain tasks, you’ll need well-honed piloting skills, as well as an understanding of sophisticated hardware and software.

Unfortunately, no certification exam will cover all the skills needed to maximize UAS benefits. And, there’s quite a bit of risk involved with trying to develop specialized UAV skills on your own, such as wrecking the drone and/or injuring coworkers.

Types of Training

There are various types of training available to you as a commercial drone operator.

Let’s break them down a bit:

Aerial Mapping

No industry has had a higher adoption rate of UAV technology than construction.

Related: The Benefits of Drones in Construction

In construction, aerial surveying is one of the most used drone applications. Photogrammetry is a fantastic tool, but one that requires focused training and extensive practice.

Additionally, UAS land surveys typically use specialized software and unique hardware, such as AeroPoints, to deliver accurate data collection. Once the data is collected, it then needs to be converted into useful products.

Some of these products might include: Photogrammetric point clouds, triangular surface meshes, textured 3D models, raster digital elevation models for geographic information systems (GIS), orthophotography, and 3D vector data collection.

By taking an aerial surveying course, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills necessary to create a drone program with purpose and direction. You’ll know which drone to buy, what software is best suited for your operation, and how to safely and efficiently gather your data.

Train the Trainer

When you’re invested in a drone program, you might not always consider turnover and changing job roles. Let’s face it, as with any other department, there will be personnel issues.

To start, individuals who operate drones may have other responsibilities within your organization. Perhaps you’re thinking about assigning drone pilot duties to your project manager, who manages several other unrelated tasks. As positions change, you might find yourself with a drone, but without a capable, certified remote pilot to legally operate it.

You’ll want to make sure you have a dedicated person in charge of your drone program at all times … one whose sole mission is to train your team – including new employees. That’s when a train-the-trainer drone course becomes essential.

Train-the-Trainer courses provide you with flexibility. By developing an in-house trainer, you’ll be able to both maintain & grow your program. And, the training can be conducted monthly, quarterly, or even annually. That way, your trainers and pilots will always remain up-to-date with airspace regulations and procedures, and you’ll always have pilots available to keep the program active and thriving.

Build Your Own (Custom Drone Course)

Your company is unique, so your drone program should be unique as well.

You have a specific purpose for drones in mind, and you want to follow a detailed protocol. And, like most of us, you’ve got a budget and time-frame. In this case, you’ll be best suited to design a completely original drone course tailored to your operation.

With a custom UAV course, instructors work with you to explore your business needs and goals. Together, you’ll ably turn them into actionable steps and specific training. Perhaps you want to include initial certification for everyone, then break it out into different applications for varying departments. Make it your own with the support of drone industry experts.

One of the greatest benefits to custom training, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all model, is instruction solely focused on what’s needed. Instead of adding unnecessary steps, your pilots will have direct, easy-to-understand guidelines. As a result, you reduce both cost and downtime.

Bringing It All Together

Learning and growing as your drone program evolves is essential to business success. When it comes to piloting expensive, potentially dangerous equipment, you’ll want to have experts take the controls.

When you get your learner’s permit for driving, you don’t just hop into an 18-wheeler and start hauling freight. You’d need to first learn to drive and earn your license, then you’d have to take specialized courses within that industry to earn another license.

Drone training is sort of like that. You earn your remote pilot certificate, then you train extensively and learn the industry regulations before you fly through a job site filled with millions of dollars of equipment, not to mention a full compliment of employees working on other tasks.

At Consortiq, that’s what we do. We train you and/or your team to fly safely, capture data, and get the most out of your drone program. And, if you decide you’d rather leave it to the experts, we do the work for you. We don’t sell the drones or have any vested interest in specific UAS software. We help you choose and create what’s best for you and your organization.

If you’re ready to take your drone program to new heights, we’re here to help. Need a consultation, or maybe you’re ready to start now? Just complete the form below. We’re global, so no matter where you are in the world, we’re here to help you get to the skies safely.

David Daly - Contributing Author

David Daly - Contributing Author

David Daly, is an award-winning photographer/writer and licensed (FAA) Commercial sUAS pilot. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, David is a former Marine Corps officer with a BS in Oceanography and has earned his MBA from the University of Redlands. David has worked for Fortune 100 companies and has a background in aerospace, construction, military/defense, real estate, and technology.

Ready to Integrate Drones Into Your Organization? Contact Us Today to Get Started!

3 Reasons To Use Drone Consultants For Your Business

Governments, businesses, and other organizations worldwide are benefiting from Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology.

The disruptive nature of drones has taken many industries by storm. Construction, mining, agricultural, utilities, and more are looking to UAV solutions and reaping the rewards.

Many tasks, such as mapping or inspections, within each sector of the economy mentioned above, are labor-intensive, expensive, and sometimes dangerous. UAVs are proving themselves to provide better results than traditional methods, often at a lower cost and in less time. The efficacy of drones as a force multiplier is fueling explosive growth in the UAS industry.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, as of Aug. 11, 2020, there are over 1.6 million registered drones in the United States. Almost one-third of that number represents drones in commercial operations.

Now is an excellent time to consider how UAV technology can benefit your organization. As with any significant decision, it is always advisable to consult experts in the field. Drones offer many benefits, but to gain the most from the technology, it is best to discuss available options, and even regulations, with drone consultants.

There are three reasons working with drone consultants is beneficial for most entities.

First, drone consultants bring with them a wide range of experience in the field. The best firms have international experience in the industry. Second, consultants can design UAS solutions that fit each organization’s specific needs. Finally, the best firms will help strengthen and grow UAS solutions, as needed.

Let’s break it all down.

Drone Consultants Have Experience

The rapid growth of the UAV industry means the technology is always changing.

Additionally, it means the regulations surrounding the operation of drones is also changing, and they’re different all around the world. While drones have been around for decades as military platforms, it was only in 2010 when Paris-based drone manufacturer Parrot introduced the first consumer drone to the market.

By 2015, over 6.4 million consumer drones were shipped globally. By 2021, that number will have grown to 67.6 million. Growth of this nature is complex and requires experts to understand the rapid change.

Drone consultancy firms are staffed with professionals who have years of experience in both aviation and unmanned vehicles. Many are pilots of crewed aircraft that have a unique understanding of aerial operations.

In-depth knowledge of UAV hardware and software allows drone consultants to recommend ideal solutions for specific needs.

The most reliable firms are international. Organizations such as NGOs, for example, may need to use drones in multiple countries. Experts in international drone consultancy firms understand the rules and regulations related to different regions.

Consultants keep organizations operating legally while maximizing the benefits of drone integration.

They Offer Tailor-Made Solutions

No two businesses or organizations are the same.

UAS consultants start by learning the needs of a business, then act as a guide by investigating how drones can address those needs.

Drones come in all shapes and sizes. Many are quadcopters, but there are plenty of fixed-winged drones as well. UAV payloads can support anything from standard cameras to more advanced systems, such as LiDAR. Understanding the equipment is essential to employing it properly.

Consultants use their experience to recommend the best platform for each desired result. Choosing a platform is only the beginning, though. If an organization is developing an in-house drone program, it will need training on how to operate its drones safely.

Consultants provide a complete solution … not just a packaged drone kit sold to everyone.

Drone Consultants Grow With You

As an established drone program grows, organizations will need support.

Training related to passing the Part 107 remote pilot exam, and actually flying, are only the beginning. There will always be a need for additional training. Whether that training is designed to maintain skills or expand capabilities, experts can provide the appropriate courses.

Consultants can also help with establishing standard operating procedures, developing in-house trainers, a fit-for-purpose UAS operations manual and training, and applying for waivers – such as the daylight waiver that allows you to fly after sunset.

There is no reason to risk litigation or safety incidences due to a lack of understanding of the technology.

Utilizing drone consultants’ strengths to grow an operation safely within local regulations is the best course of action. Expert opinions can recommend training that will keep the benefits coming while mitigating any potential pitfalls. The experience these firms bring with them is worth the investment for most operations.

Bringing It All Together

Utilizing drone consultants’ strengths to grow an operation safely within local regulations is the best course of action.

Expert can recommend training that will keep the benefits coming, while also mitigating any potential pitfalls. The experience these firms bring with them is worth the investment for most operations.

Thinking about using a drone consultant for your business? From operations manual evaluation & support to hardware evaluation, UAS training framework and drone safety audits, we’re here to help!

Complete the form below to schedule a consultation today!

David Daly - Contributing Author

David Daly - Contributing Author

David Daly, is an award-winning photographer/writer and licensed (FAA) Commercial sUAS pilot. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, David is a former Marine Corps officer with a BS in Oceanography and has earned his MBA from the University of Redlands. David has worked for Fortune 100 companies and has a background in aerospace, construction, military/defense, real estate, and technology.

Ready to Integrate Drones Into Your Organization? Contact Us Today to Get Started!

Drone Delivery Just Around the Corner

The UAV industry has rapidly grown in the last decade.

Commercial drone capabilities, such as LiDAR, seemed like science fiction just ten years ago. Today, however, collecting aerial data and generating a range of useful products has become commonplace.

Significant advancements in design, engineering, and software coding have given drones the power to accomplish much in the last few years. That said, there are some areas in which the platform’s full potential is yet unrealized.

One such application is drone delivery.

 

 

Drone Delivery & Logistics

Professionals in the logistics world spend a great deal of their time on the “last mile problem.”

The digital age allows for many services and products to be accessible instantaneously. Calls, emails, videos, and images are literally at our fingertips whenever we need them. And yet, even with the many advances in technology characteristic of modern societies, this is still not the case for most physical goods.

Once items are shipped from a business to a customer, the logistics of getting those items into often dense population areas efficiently is what the last mile problem refers to. The most important factors in last mile problem solving are route density and drop size.

Route density is the number of drop-off points on a given delivery route. Drop size is the amount of items that can be delivered at each stop.

Each delivery cost will decrease with more drop offs, and with more items delivered per drop off. Many of the largest companies in the world are looking towards drones to help solve this problem.

Google, Amazon, Uber, UPS, DHL, FedEx, and even Domino’s pizza are invested in UAV technology. In fact, one of the first drone deliveries in the world was in 2016 when a Dominos pizza franchise in New Zealand delivered the first pizza via drone. These companies have been very public about the benefits drones potentially bring to their respective businesses and customers.

 

UAS Delivery Regulations & Limitations

There are three reasons why drones have yet to fill the skies with packages and pizzas.

Government regulations, along with poor performance in route density and drop size, are challenges holding back large-scale UAV delivery.

Government regulations that hinder UAV expansion in this area primarily pertain to limitations on commercial drone flights.

Most countries limit commercial drone pilots to flying within the visual line of sight. Regulations also require a human pilot to have control of the drone during flight. Such legal conditions make large-scale drone delivery challenging, if not impossible.

Why Companies Are Still Investing

Fortunately, many of the world’s airspace agencies, such as the FAA and the CAA, are slowly working toward updating these restrictions.

RELATED ARTICLE: EUROPEAN UAS REGULATION FURTHER DELAYED

Several countries currently have trial programs studying how to better manage UAVs in their airspace. Experts in the aviation field believe it is only a matter of time before drones are allowed to autonomously operate around the world.

For route density and drop size, even large operations like Amazon are testing drones that can only deliver one package at a time with a maximum weight of no more than ten pounds. Limitations such as these would make it seem as if drone delivery services will never get off the ground or compete with current methods.

So, why are so many companies still investing heavily in the potential of the service?

Like Amazon, some of the largest investors in the space see these traditional last mile issues as less critical to drones. For example, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos has pointed out the large number of people who live within ten miles of an Amazon fulfillment center, and that 86% of all products purchased on the site are under five pounds. Other expects believe 44% of all Americans live near fulfillment centers.

If these numbers are true, once government regulations ease up, the reality of 30-minute drone deliveries may be entirely possible.

Incorporating Drone Delivery

It is highly likely that, within the next few years, we will see the full scale of drone delivery services begin to take shape.

If you’re with a company that has problems with last mile challenges, you should take a serious look now at how drone delivery service can integrate into the current and future operations.

As regulations ease and technology continues to improve, drones may become the most efficient means of product delivery.

***

About Consortiq

Consortiq is a global market leader of custom drone solutions. Our employees are driven by a mission to help corporations and state organisations leverage drone technology to accelerate progress and achieve the success they desire. At Consortiq, we base our solutions on intensive quantitative and qualitative research, hard facts, and deep subject matter expertise. As a talented group of drone and manned aircraft pilots, software engineers, defense consultants, and former air traffic control professionals, Consortiq’s employees understand the intricacies of aerial platforms and are able to provide a wide range of nuanced, effective solutions. 

We have a strong track record of providing training, logistical operations planning, fleet management software, risk mitigation, and legal/regulatory services, to clients in the media, public infrastructure, and public safety industries in Europe, North America, and the Middle East.

Our accredited training program helps pilots prepare and go beyond the US Part 107 and the UK GVC

Need help developing a safe, compliant, and efficient program? Complete the form below to get started!

 

David Daly - Contributing Author

David Daly - Contributing Author

David Daly, is an award-winning photographer/writer and licensed (FAA) Commercial sUAS pilot. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, David is a former Marine Corps officer with a BS in Oceanography and has earned his MBA from the University of Redlands. David has worked for Fortune 100 companies and has a background in aerospace, construction, military/defense, real estate, and technology.

Ready to Integrate Drones Into Your Organization? Contact Us Today to Get Started!

Should You Use Drone as a Service or Start an In-House UAV Program?

Choosing between a Drones-as-a-Service (DaaS) provider and starting your own program

Many organizations benefit from utilizing UAV technology.

In fact, drones have established themselves as essential tools in numerous industries. Construction, real estate, agriculture, oil & gas, education, and many other sectors are seeing decreased safety incidents, lowered costs, and enhanced efficiencies.

One of the first questions you might have while investigating how drones can improve your operation is: Should we hire a drone service provider or create an in-house program.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both options. But, before exploring these points, there are a few considerations to discuss.

You’ll need to start with identifying your specific needs to determine which option works best for you.

What to Consider

First, how do you plan to use drones?

This is most crucial consideration. Will the UAV primarily be used for aerial photography, or for more complex tasks such as three-dimensional modeling as an extension of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)?

While some organizations have relatively simple drone needs, you may require sophisticated data collection and processing. In general, more complex needs require commercial drone pilots with specialized training and equipment. Some of the more technical payloads, such as LiDAR, can cost well over $100,000.

Next, how often do you plan to use UAV services?

Depending on the task, continuous use will point you toward the right option in terms of cost and availability.

Alright, so what’s your budget?

Investing in UAV technology should not be viewed solely as a one-time purchase. Drones require regular maintenance, and they include consumable parts such as batteries and propellers.

Equipment breaks, and upgrades will be needed from time to time. Furthermore, remote pilots require time to practice to maintain their skills.

Then, you’ll have administrative costs, such as insurance. UAV insurance can be purchased at an hourly rate or on an annual basis. The type of coverage needed will significantly change the cost per policy.

Also, more complex drone operations will require specific software, along with data processing capabilities. Data processing services for applications such as GIS can run as high as several hundred dollars, per user, each month.

Finally, you’ll need to consider the personnel commitment and training required for in-house UAV operations.

In the United States, any commercial drone usage requires a Part 107 remote pilot certification from the FAA. That license must be renewed every two years.

 

Related: Schedule Your Onsite Part 107 Essentials Enterprise Training Course Today

 

In the UK, the new General VLOS Certificate (GVC) must be renewed every five years, and an annual operational authorization from the CAA is required.

 

Related: Schedule Your GVC Training Course Today

 

Specialized equipment, such as thermal cameras, reaches full potential only when trained personnel interpret the collected data.

And, a healthy drone program includes extensive, continuous training, along with the adoption of standard operating procedures. In fact, those are essential to producing professional results while remaining safe & compliant.

UAV Drone Engineering Course - Drone Solutions - Construction -Consortiq

Drones as a Service: Pros & Cons

Drones as a Service (DaaS) — or, as we refer to it, unmanned data services — is essentially the outsourcing of an organization’s UAV needs.

PROS

Pros for choosing DaaS over building your own UAV program include: Ease of scalability, lower upfront cost, and incurring less liability.

CONS

The cons often associated with DaaS are: The potential for less flexibility, lower response time, and rigid pricing structures.

If your UAV needs are more complex, and you don’t have the in-house compentency necessary to achieve your goals, then DaaS is the ideal choice. Established service providers have both the expertise and equipment needed to provide whatever deliverables are desired.

Also, in most cases, data processing for significant projects is also best handled by DaaS.

And, if you’re working for a larger organization, you’ll also appreciate the reduction of potential risks from possible litigation and in dealing with human resource issues.

Drone Program - Drone Integration Course - Industry workers flying drone at construction site

Creating Your Own UAS Program: Pros & Cons

When you create your own in-house UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) program, you have full control. You’ll have a team of trained remote pilots available at all times. Along with that, though, you’ll take on all of the associated responsibility & risk.

PROS

Benefits include: Maintaining full control of the operation, immediate response time, and designing the program to fit your organization’s needs perfectly.

CONS

Disadvantages to this option are: Increased exposure to risk, upfront and on-going costs of maintenance & equipment replacement, potential lack of resilience, and you’ll need to stay up-to-date on all legal requirements and regulations.

If your need for UAV technology is small in scale and complexity, but requires regular drone use, starting an in-house program is ideal. You’ll have the ability to maintain the drone program’s full control, from both an operational and fiscal perspective.

Having a drone and pilot ready to move at moment’s notice certainly has its perks.

Bringing It All Together

The decision to work with a DaaS provider or start an in-house drone program is an important one.

Whichever choice you make, it’s important to consult with UAS experts prior to getting started.  Experienced consultants will help you to identify your specific needs and explore the best fit to meet those needs. You’ll also get support on creating operations manuals, safety guidelines, and regulation requirements.

No matter what you choose, Consortiq has a solution for you. From unmanned data services that include aerial surveys and mapping, to extensive global remote pilot training and  drone consultancy, we’ll help you put the right plan in place.

Need expert-level support? Just compete the form below or call us at 1-855-203-8825 (Americas) or +44 (0)208 0450 322 (Europe) to get started!

David Daly - Contributing Author

David Daly - Contributing Author

David Daly, is an award-winning photographer/writer and licensed (FAA) Commercial sUAS pilot. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, David is a former Marine Corps officer with a BS in Oceanography and has earned his MBA from the University of Redlands. David has worked for Fortune 100 companies and has a background in aerospace, construction, military/defense, real estate, and technology.

Ready to Integrate Drones Into Your Organization? Contact Us Today to Get Started!

Debunking the Myth About Drones

Why drone technology represents an achievable competitive edge for your company – and is no longer just for blue-sky thinkers.

Let’s be clear about one thing. Drones are not just for enthusiasts – they’re also for serious business.

But there are a few preconceptions that may be holding companies back from exploiting their full potential, and with all the disinformation circulating in the media
this is no surprise. So, we thought it was time to dispel a few of the myths.

Myth #1: Drone Technology is Still in Its Infancy

It may seem this way – but this is largely because businesses are only now becoming aware of the possibilities of using UAS
(unmanned aircraft systems). 

Behind the scenes, drone technology has been maturing and is now in use across a range of industries.

BP was a notable pioneer when, in June 2014, after years of testing (and, one would assume, lobbying) it gained FAA approval to fly drones across its Prudhoe Bay oilfields to monitor and maintain its oil pipeline infrastructure. It has since been adopted – and adapted – by many diverse sectors, from insurance and infrastructure to emergency services and the media. The number of drone-based patents being granted has risen exponentially in recent years; at the same time, economies of scale have caused the cost of the aircraft themselves to plummet.

Yet, while the hardware gets cheaper, the overall value of drone-based business worldwide remains staggering.

In a 2016 report, PWC analyzed the potential of addressable markets, taking into account the cost of labor and services that are potentially replaced by UAS – and estimated that the total addressable value of drone-powered solutions in all applicable industries was over $127 billion.

To say drone technology is in its infancy is inaccurate. If we continue the human metaphor, drone technology has grown up, gone to college, graduated from business school and is now out there in the workplace.

And, everyone wants to hire them.

Myth #2: Drone Technology is Risky

The truth is that most things worth doing come with risk attached.

But, in business, everyone knows that it’s not about eliminating risk (because you can’t) but reducing it, managing it, controlling it – and assessing the risk/reward ratio.

This is another indication of the maturity of the drone industry – or rather, the regulatory environment that surrounds it. For decades, governments and aviation authorities have been assessing its viability and safety, and they’ve refined the regulatory conditions in which drones must operate – which in turn provides a reliable framework that enables investing companies to quantify risk.

Our background at Consortiq is firmly in the aviation world, and we are reassured by the fact that drone regulations are based on the same analysis used for commercial, manned aircraft.

Research shows that much of public concern over drone usage centers on fears over the activities of unregistered private operators. Years of discussion, negotiation, expert analysis and risk assessment has given us a framework that makes drone operation as proportionately regulated as commercial aviation.

The drone industry is keen to work with regulatory authorities, and the uptake in registered operator licenses bears this out. As of March 2020, over 1.5 million drones were registered by the FAA – 441,709 of which are commercial drones. Similarly, in the UK, the CAA reports that around 2,700 businesses hold a “Permission for Commercial Operation,” 
with any number of pilots operating under each license.

In short, UAS are the tools of an expert, accredited and highly regulated industry. As with any technology, the risk of investing in it is down to the investor and outside the control of the industry. But for its part, the UAS industry can offer reassurance to investors that drone operation is expertly and responsibly managed in accordance with robust aviation industry rules.

“Drones have brought a creative step-change to the media industry in a remarkably short time.”

Michael Surcombe, Ex-BBC innovation Tweet

Myth #3: Drone Development is Driven By the Military, Not By Business

This is a myth – but a fascinating back story, nonetheless.

Being able to guide a weapon-carrying or reconnaissance aircraft BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) is clearly a compelling advantage for any military. Yet, the military development of drones should not be confused with commercial drone development, because the two parties come from different angles.

Steeped in a tradition of airborne warfare, military drone developers are effectively starting from the desire to make existing machines pilot-less. They already have a thorough understanding of how military aircraft can be deployed for tactical and strategic advantage, and have worked to use remote control technology to recreate this but without putting personnel at risk.

The developers of commercial drones, however, had no such heritage. Drones were entirely new and were driven principally by the same technological advancements that drove mobile phones: the miniaturization of components, the improvement in battery life, the development of digital photography etc.

While the bigger picture is complex, in truth, commercial drones have more in common with your smartphone than they do with their air force namesakes.

GVC Drone Training in London - Drone Solutions - Consortiq

Myth #4: Drone Pilots are Expensive, Specialists, and in Short Supply

The worry is understandable.

Tech industries have a long history of being at the mercy of a small group of skilled professionals who could name their price (remember the first HTML programmers, the first SEO specialists?). If you are thinking of investing in drone technology, the last thing you need is the worry of a skills shortage in the critical area of drone operation.

But the answer is in the term: Operator.

Drones are not flown in the same way that model aircraft are flown, they are operated. You do not need to be a “ninja” drone pilot since drone operators are not necessarily flying the aircraft, they are in charge of the mission.

So, rather than fly the drones hands-on, the operator tells the aircraft where it should go; a fundamental difference – yet the operator still needs to be accountable for their actions. Training is, therefore, a key part of any investment, but there is unlikely to be a shortage.

In the United States, 1,055 drone pilot licenses (aka Part 107 licenses), on average, were issued each day in 2019. With numbers like that, it will not be a specialist skill that commands an expensive salary.

Instead, the trick will be designing the system that suits the application – the drone system that solves your commercial problem in the most effective way.

Myth #5: Drone Technology is All About Aerial Photography

We’ve all seen the beautiful aerial shots used in movies, ads and TV shows.

But, while aerial photography is perhaps the most obvious commercial application for UAS, enhancing the creative product while reducing costs, it is only one of many.

  • The infrastructure sector – roads, energy, oil & gas etc. – is using drones to monitor geographically distributed networks of assets for maintenance and inventory management purposes.
  • The transport and logistics industry uses them to deliver goods, notably medicines or time-critical items.
  • The insurance sector is using drones to prevent fraud and to more accurately assess risks (such as vulnerability to natural disasters).
  • Agriculture can use them to spray crops, security services use them for surveillance.
  • And, telecommunications companies use UAS as a highly effective extension to their networks (as well as a way to monitor the physical state of network assets that cannot be easily accessed otherwise).


Whether drones are delivering a payload, collecting data, or simply replacing personnel, they are providing commercial advantage in almost every conceivable sector.

Drone – What’s in a name?

In his 2008 book, “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles,” the military historian Steven Zaloga, explained how a remote control aircraft codenamed Queen Bee was designed by the British Navy in 1935 for target practice. The US military saw the craft demonstrated and decided to pursue their own development – and adopted the name ‘drone’ for later incarnations, in homage to the original Queen Bee.

Myth #6: The Future Cost of a Drone-Based Strategy is Unpredictable

It’s new and exciting. But, does that really mean that it’s unpredictable?

Most companies investing in drone technology today do  not see it as an open-ended investment. On the contrary, they see it as an open-ended opportunity.

The reason is that the competitive advantage of using UAS is only achieved when it is done at scale. Shareholders are not interested in niche deployments; the real game players are the ones who “uberize” their industry by leveraging new methods on a scale that makes a fundamental difference to the bottom line.

As a result, the investment decision right now is not about scale, it’s about proof of concept. Most companies do not know exactly how UAS will be deployed, but they know there will be opportunities in the future – and the companies best placed to exploit the opportunities will be those who got involved early.

So, the initial investment in testing and preparing to deploy drone technology will result in greater certainty in the future when you prepare to scale – because you will be ready to do in a shorter time-frame and gain real advantage over slower-moving competitors.

Myth #7: The Potential of Drone Technology Will Be Swallowed Up By a Mass of Regulations

There are plenty of scare stories about drones.

The media loves to speculate wildly when unlicensed drones enter commercial airspace, for example, and governments and aviation authorities have been busily developing the legal and regulatory framework for drone operation to prevent such events happening.

But regulations will not stifle commercial drone use for two reasons. First, as mentioned previously, the regulations and licensing requirements in place are designed to reduce any risk attached to the commercial use of UAS, which is an advantage to any organization considering using the technology. Second, and perhaps more importantly, there is great pressure on governments to provide clear regulations in order to encourage drone companies to base their operations in their country.

With an estimated value of $127 billion, the drone market is very tempting and every national government wants its slice of the pie. 

Drone flying in the sky - debunking the myths about drones - Consortiq

Myth #8: Drones Will Take Over the World

Let’s be honest here.

As suppliers to the drone industry, we must declare something of an interest in its success. But, we also believe that our interests – and yours – are best served by being realistic. So, when we see scaremongering reports about drones becoming omnipresent, a sky filled with crisscrossing unmanned deliveries and data-gathering UAVs, we feel we should also point out the limitations of drone technology – and why many of these reports are exaggerated.

In the field of delivery, for example, the drone-based delivery model is in competition with the established delivery infrastructure on the ground. In many cases, this is beneficial to using drones. Drones are likely to be preferred in situations where:

  • Delivery items are small/lightweight
  • Delivery times are critical (e.g. medical supplies)
  • The alternative infrastructure is weak (e.g. poor roads, such as in less developed countries).

But, while the use of UAVs is a breakthrough in the above scenarios, and can offer enormous benefits, this is not always the case. Deliveries of certain items in developed countries may be best served by ground based autonomous vehicles or emerging disruptive logistics infrastructure. It’s simply cheaper and easier.

But anything is possible! In other situations, it may simply be easier to use traditional ground-based infrastructure (but don’t forget that autonomous vehicles are disrupting the market here too).

In Summary

The arrival of proven drone technology for commercial use is an extraordinary development, and one that promises so much potential.

It is also unusual that, in a world of software- and data-driven disruption, it is the physical nature of drones – their ability to fly – that makes them so compelling.

And, it is a metaphor that holds true for the businesses that are thinking of how to use drones for their own commercial benefit. They too need to go somewhere new in their thinking – to take a different view of their industry and the way their businesses work. It is only by taking that different perspective that the opportunities will reveal themselves, in the same way that the bigger picture can only truly be seen from the air.

Yet, we also hope that this information has helped to clarify some of the detail. Preconceptions abound in the world of drones and we hope we have helped you to see more clearly why some of those preconceptions are unhelpful, and that the transformational effect of drones on your business may be easier to achieve than you previously thought.

Ready to introduce drone technology into your organization? We’re ready to help you with training, consulting, operations manual creation, and understanding regulations, no matter where you are in the world. Complete the form below to get started today!

Ready to Integrate Drones into Your Operations?

When to Use Remote Sensor Platforms (ROV)

Lessons Learned - Part 4

A series of insights brought to you by the Consortiq team

Can remotely operated vehicles (ROV) improve unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operations? 

Yes, UAS, otherwise known as drones, are technically ROVs, but the term ROV often pertains to underwater or land-based platforms. 

So how can these platforms be used with, or instead of, UAS?

At Consortiq, we focus on UAS training and consulting. Many of our clients are well-diversified, thus they conduct various tasks that require innovative approaches. 

Some of these tasks are better suited to UAS because of efficiency, cost saving, and safety concerns. That said, when a client presents us with a pain-point in their operations, we instinctively look for a UAS solution. 

Recently, though, that’s changed. Now, we look for innovative solutions that use ROVs. 

Here are a few specific conversations that prompted this change in approach.

Remote Sensor Vehicle (ROV) Inspection of a dam
Unmanned dam inspection - Consortiq

Using a Ground-Based ROV

While providing flight training to a large company, our staff was given an overview of some of the nearby infrastructures. 

The clients explained how they used their then-current UAS fleet to inspect the transmission and distribution lines. The also mentioned that they use UAS for dam inspections, and explained the importance of looking for surface issues, such as cracks and erosion. 

They wished that their system would allow them to look for erosion under the concrete spillways. Because unknown leaks cause the earth underneath the concrete to erode to the point at which the structure fails, without visible evidence, it’s difficult to identify the issue before it becomes a greater problem. 

The solution, under those circumstances, was to use Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to look for the voids underneath the concrete. Although there have been some operations using GPR on a UAS, it still has a lot of limitations. So, the thought was to use the standard application of GPR, which is a type of cart that someone would push or pull across the ground. 

The problem was the grade of the areas in need of inspection. It would be difficult, at best, and too hazardous for a person to try and operate the conventional system in that environment. 

Yes, remotely operated GPR systems exist. However, they’re fairly bulky, and not really conducive to steep grades. 

The situation reminded me of a presentation I attended once, which chronicled a proof-of-concept test of GPR with an ROV for a similar application. It used a tracked ROV that was low and wide, and a tether could be attached to it for use on very steep grades. That was the perfect solution for problem at hand, and it didn’t involve a UAS.

Another client with which we work has a large amount of chemical production sites. 

They use UAS for the standard visual and infrared (IR) inspections, and they mainly focus on corrosion, damage, and compliance. The majority of their structures are open and accessible to UAS, and it’s a perfect use case for reducing cost and exposure to risk while increasing efficiency. 

In one specific case, for one of their devices, a recurring inspection would have cost upward of $500K due to downtime manpower needs, and the cost of erecting the scaffolding required. For that situation, using UAS made sense. 

That operation was so successful that the client asked for a similar solution related to a container, which also required recurring inspections. Cost-wise, the situation was similar because decontamination was required prior to human entry. 

So, we’d use a UAS, right? 

It was possible. However, it’d be challenging. 

The container included internal structures, so it wasn’t just an open void. And, along with additional complexities, this was a GPS-denied environment, so we needed to use an additional platform. 

Sure, it could be done. There are specialized UAS made specifically for that type of use. But, we wanted to find a way to get it done for less money and with minimal risk. We decided to, again, use a ground based, tethered ROV with a mast-mounted sensor. 

Using an Underwater ROV

The same client who needed a solution for its container had another challenge. 

Some of the organization’s infrastructure was located under water, and the team needed a way to get temperature measurements and general inspection photos. They tried using IR on a UAS, that didn’t work. Thus, we offered the idea of an underwater ROV (UROV). 

Underwater ROV
Example of an underwater ROV

 

In recent years, UROVs have really advanced. Entry level systems now cost less than $1,000. Granted, the industrial systems with expanded abilities cost much more. But now, at least, they’re more attainable for simpler tasks. 

And, it’s much easier to ask for a $500 proof-of-concept project budget than it is to request $100K to fix a major issue.

Bringing It All Together

There are many other ingenious ways to use ROVs in addition to, and including, the ones I outlined. 

Every time we’re presented with a problem a client needs to solve, we step back and think about which platform is the best to use, as opposed to trying to make their specific platform work as the solution. 

Also, there may be times when a UAS is the best option but, it’s not feasible due to regulatory requirements. That’s when an ROV, while not the preferred solution, might be the best one.

Need help creating the best drone solution for your business? We’re here for you! 

Contact us today by completing the form below.

John Fernandez - Training Manager Americas, Consortiq

John Fernandez - Training Manager Americas, Consortiq

Prior to coming to Consortiq full-time, John worked as a contractor for a leading US based UAS flight controller manufacturer, where he provided product support for civilian and government customers as well as flight testing and project management of new products and features. John has served as a civilian police officer in positions including criminal investigator, narcotics investigator, SWAT operator, and organized crime investigator.

After leaving civilian law enforcement, John deployed to Kosovo and Jordan as a law enforcement instructor (firearms, democratic policing, etc.) in support of Department of State and Department of Justice operations. John also has an extensive background in information technology and has worked for several Fortune 500 IT companies.

John has approximately 10 years of UAS operations experience, which includes a deployment to Afghanistan as a UAS pilot for the NAVAIR Copperhead anti-IED program with over 1100 hrs flight time on the Tigershark platform. John has delivered courses on behalf of Consortiq for 3 years to include clients from the energy sector, US Government, prime defense contractors, military, public service, and various other clients. His experience ranges from small UASs up to Group 3 UAVs.

John holds an FAA-authorized Remote Pilot Certificate with sUAS rating (“Part 107 Certificate”) and holds a 14 CFR § 107.29—Daylight operation CoW, is a Level 1 sUAS certified Infrared Thermographer, a Certified AUVSI TOP Level 3 Remote Pilot Instructor and is a CAA authorized UAS operator in the UK.

Ready to Integrate Drones into Your Operations?