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Drone Technology Takes Off with Business Users

Photo by Michael Samples.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drone aircraft, have been used extensively in commercial practice in recent years. As the technology progresses, more applications are being explored. Drones quickly are becoming a major platform for innovation.

Some Dallas companies are seeing incredible growth as demand for aerial imaging and monitoring services continues to grow.

Here are some examples of what Dallas companies are doing:

Commercial Real Estate and Business Film Production

SKYLVL is a leader in full service media production using aerial videos to help commercial real estate companies (and others) show off their assets. SKYLVL also uses their drones to film TV commercials, movies, outdoor events, provide panoramic aerial views of Dallas, and aid construction companies in monitoring their job sites (such as using aerial time-lapse footage to track progress).

 

August 2014 Reel from SKYLVL on Vimeo.

 

Storing and Analyzing Data from Drones

Drones can be equipped with a variety of sensors and cameras which generate lots of data. Storing, transferring, and analyzing that data can be a significant challenge. That’s where Dallas-based Drone Data comes in. They offer a cloud-based solution for drone companies to store and process the data they generate.

Landscaping

Good Earth, a Dallas landscaping company recently announced it was adding drone services to its offerings. To properly put municipal, commercial, or residential landscapes in perspective, drone photography as a service makes perfect sense. With an accurate overhead view, it becomes easier to design and lay out all the necessary components from irrigation systems to lighting design.

Insurance Inspections

AviTronics is a disabled veteran-owned small business using unmanned aerial photography to help businesses quickly assess damages from storms to support insurance claims as well as for preventative maintenance. Drones can offer a safer solution for inspecting buildings and structures that may pose a hazard or would be difficult to reach.

Oil & Gas Exploration

Surveying And Mapping LLC, a leader in geospatial solutions, is using drones for surveying, exploration, aerial mapping, and inspections for the oil and gas industry as well as others. Drones can be used to monitor air quality and detect methane.

Football Training

Yes, even the Dallas Cowboys are getting in on drones to record practices for internal training. Major league teams, like the Cowboys, will use Drones to capture the action. Multiple drones can be used at the same time to provide different viewing angles and capture every player on the field for post practice analysis. Soon, the towel boy on every high school team will be in charge of operating drones.

UT Dallas Entrepreneurship

Students are also getting in on the action. At the Naveen Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas, Dr. Rajiv Shah’s students worked with RMS Aerospace to explore “business opportunities involving drones”, from crop-dusting to emergency services. The course offered students a sneak peak at what will be one of the next big emerging technologies.

Inspecting Railways

Fort Worth-based BNSF Railway Co. uses drones to inspect its tracks and monitor trains. Drones offer great potential to help rail companies spot problems with their tracks, provide line of sight at night and in inclement weather, and give advance notice to train conductors should an emergency occur somewhere down the tracks ahead. There’s some chatter that Southwest or American Airlines could use drones to inspect aircraft (Lufthansa and easyJet are doing it).

Wedding Photography

It seems wedding photographers are keen on capturing that special moment from a new angle, too. Quite a few have been incorporating drone footage into wedding videos, though many are operating drones without the FAA 333 exemption which is required for commercial use.

Water Rescue

A Plano inventor, Rujing Tang, developed a Lifeguard Drone to deliver a flotation device in an emergency. The drone is activated by a wristband worn by the swimmer. Garret Bryl, a volunteer with the Johnson County Emergency Services District has also used his drone to drop rescue ropes to people stuck in flood waters.

Get involved with drones

The potential applications for drone use are extensive. If you’re looking to get involved in the drone community to learn more about this emerging technology, check out the North Texas Drone Meetup. And if you plan to use drones commercially this year, make sure to register with the FAA.


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Michael is the founder of Future in Focus, a strategic foresight and consulting firm that helps companies see years or even decades into the future to make better long-term decisions today. When he’(...)

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