Articles posted by Douglas Kemp

By Victoria Greene – @vickyecommerce

At the beginning of December, it will have been 5 years since Amazon kingpin Jeff Bezos announced plans for Amazon Prime Air. Initially mocked in popular culture, everyone soon realized that it’s precisely the sort of thing Amazon could and would do, and settled back to see where the chips would fall.

Today, the dream has yet to come to fruition — and other companies have followed suit in betting big on drone delivery hardware and systems — yet the smart money remains on Amazon being the big beneficiary of this automated revolution, especially since it has put so much time and money into getting it right.

amazon prime air droneCredits: Amazon Prime Air

However, by the time Amazon’s Prime Air drone fleet goes live (whether in 2019 or much later), it will need to have overcome some major hurdles that currently face all drone delivery systems. What hurdles are those? Let’s go through them.

Legally using airspace

The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) is still in the early stages of figuring out how it’s going to handle approval for drone fleets, and thus far its regulations have focussed on manned personal drones. To this point its limitations have been based on maintaining the privacy of citizens and protecting airspace required for other things (such as planes).

Add Prime Air to the mix and you get a tremendously complex situation. Who will be monitoring the drones, and how? How will Amazon avoid drones getting in the way of planes, particularly in busy urban areas? Presumably there will need to be an overarching cross-system network to keep everything neatly synched, but that will increase the complexity.

And in the event of something going wrong, who will ultimately hold responsibility? How will anyone know for sure? If a Prime Air drone crashes into a drone from a rival shipping company (and self-destructs, apparently), each company might claim the fault must have been with the other. It’s certainly understandable that authorities would want to take a lot of time to figure out how everything is going to work before opening the floodgates.

Public distaste for automated transport

On the topic of responsibility, there remains a lot of antipathy towards automated transport systems and smart technology in general. For better or worse, people like to feel that cars, buses, bikes, planes, trains, and, yes, drones are manually controlled. When something goes wrong, there’s someone to blame — someone to hate (and to sue if needed).

When you take the manual control away — or move it back several levels to a position of limited oversight — you attract pushback. Not only do people not want to entrust shadowy automated systems with important tasks (and even their fates), but they also don’t like the consequences in the world of employment.

Just think about what will happen if Prime Air becomes a roaring success and the drone delivery system becomes an ecommerce staple. Heavy things will still need to be shipped by road, naturally, but that will be cold comfort to the many delivery drivers likely to be pushed elsewhere to work for smaller and cheaper companies that can’t afford or justify drones.

The world of technology may have greatly expanded the business opportunities for entrepreneurial types (with a laptop and an internet connection you can take courses, start a store and sell your small business for a tidy profit), but not everyone wants to learn tech. They want to preserve their careers, and drones will prevent them from doing so. The antipathy will eventually fade, but there will be many bitter pills to swallow first.

Keeping communications secure

Amazon Prime Air will invariably have manual oversight (if only to keep investors happy and placate the public), but secure communication will be essential regardless. The more drones are in the air at any time, the more carefully they will need to be arranged to avoid clashes. But the networking demands go past that.

When you establish a high-profile network of any kind, you inevitably attract attempts to hack it: to shut it down, draw data from it, or alter its protocols somehow. Each drone will need to be able to send and receive data to and from the main Amazon system, so people will no doubt attempt to seize drones and analyze them to find a way to break into it.

Could people find ways to locate drones holding expensive items and reroute them? It’s plausible. Very unlikely, I’d say, since I don’t think Amazon would go live without being very confident in its ability to keep its software secure, but this is certainly an obstacle that will need to be completely overcome before getting anywhere.

Establishing enough fulfilment centers

Drone fleets (using today’s technology, at least) will offer incredible flexibility and convenience at the cost of range. When Prime Air was announced, it was noted that a drone delivery must be within a 10-mile radius of an Amazon fulfilment center, which means that Amazon will need a lot more fulfilment centers if it hopes to ever make Prime Air a default delivery option.

And even if it manages to get that many fulfilment centers set up, how will stock levels be handled? The level of complexity will go through the roof. Might we see complex chains of drone deliveries, with one transporting an item to another fulfilment center to be picked up and carried along by another drone? Or will Amazon simply rely on demand prediction models and keep Prime Air as an occasional delivery method?

I don’t anticipate it replacing next-day (or even same-day) standard delivery, but I can certainly see it becoming a very common option. It won’t happen until Amazon gets the infrastructure in place, though, so let’s see how things proceed.

Amazon Prime Air has a lot of promise, but there are many challenges for it to pass before any of that promise can be fulfilled. Thankfully, once it does pass those challenges, there will be a convenient fulfilment system available to make it happen.

Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant

Victoria Greene is an ecommerce marketing expert and freelance writer who can’t wait to jump on the drone delivery bandwagon. You can read more of her work at her blog Victoria Ecommerce.

Stay tuned on the Personal Drones Blog for the latest quadcopter and multirotor news!

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” – Peter Drucker

The $118M Airware failure is a cautionary tale for all potential commercial drone investors—as well as all existing commercial drone market participants. To avoid such failure—whether you are drone aircraft manufacturer, software vendor, service provider, business enterprise, investor, or public agency—you need the most reliable market data possible—not just best guesses.

I still believe the #1 misconception in the drone industry is how fast it will grow, which sectors will grow, and which ones will lag. As early as 2014, we wrote about this problem and warned about using unreliable data to measure the potential market for drones. Back then I said drone market forecasts abound. At that time there were 22 independent companies providing market forecasts, and each of them projected growth for the drone or unmanned aerial system (UAS) sector that was nothing short of phenomenal. Today there are 84, most still projecting remarkable growth.

Our observations:

  • We see a lack of objective information on drone industry market segments.
  • We find there’s an absence of credible market-based research.
  • We see little understanding of the difference between large industry forecasts and actual business user adoption rates.

Example of success

Despite the big disconnect, there are some big success stories in dronelandia—successes that can be attributed in great part to managing with good data.

Take DroneDeploy, for example. They report over 30,000 users that log over 65,000 flights per month. These users have mapped over 250,000 sites and uploaded more than 75 million images in the last 12 months.

By our accounting (results from our 2018 benchmark survey of over 2,500 drone industry participants), DroneDeploy has the #1 market share for agriculture and construction in automated flight / mission planning and data / image / video processing—despite having 16% and 12% overall share in those two software categories, respectively. All vendors continue to push out innovations, but it’s DroneDeploy that’s pushing boundaries more than any vendor. Their app market is the largest set of industry-specific integrated apps available.

How did they get to be so successful?

DroneDeploy operates in one of the most crowded segments of the commercial drone market—software. We track over 130 vendors servicing the two software categories in which they compete. Last year our data showed they lead with more agriculture industry market share than anyone but lagged in construction. This year, however, they targeted construction, and the results show it.

One reason for DroneDeploy’s success is they were able to track their results with data—data that we provided from custom queries tailored to their objectives that were included in their research sponsorship over the past two years.

Bottom line

The quote by Drucker above means that you can’t know whether you are successful unless success is defined and tracked. With a clearly established metric for success, you can quantify progress and adjust your process to produce the desired outcome. Without clear objectives, you’re stuck in a constant state of guessing.

If you have questions about how we can help you make critical investment decisions with confidence, write me at colin@droneanalyst.com.

Image credit: Shutterstock and Skylogic Research

We just released the results of our third annual drone industry benchmark survey and it’s a kicker.

The 2018 Drone Market Sector Report examines worldwide drone sales, service providers, business and public agency users, and software services. This independent research, which is sponsored by DJI, DroneDeploy, DroneInsurance.com, and Trimble, finds a growing demand for businesses to use drone-acquired data in their day-to-day operations as well as other fresh insights on major drone industry segments.

Research

Our online market survey garnered over 2,500 respondents representing over 60 industries worldwide. Our analysis yields 10 key insights that summarize the current state of the industry, plus detailed analysis of drone adoption by businesses and enterprises.

Report

The 107-page report presents the results and analyses from each survey question. It’s organized to match our survey, with four sections that correspond to the four major segments of the drone industry:

  1. Drone aircraft and payloads purchased
  2. Service providers that offer drone-based imaging or sensing services for outside hire or sale
  3. Businesses and public agencies with drone programs
  4. Software apps or online services for drone operations and imaging

The report features more than 60 helpful figures and tables and offering insight and analysis on:

  • Who’s buying what types of drones from which makers at what prices and for what uses.
  • How large the drone-based service providers are, and how they position themselves to their target industries.
  • Who the business users of drone-based projects are, and which industries have traction.
  • How much service providers, business users, and public agencies are using flight management, mission planning, and image processing software for drone-based projects.

Findings

Among the more interesting findings are that commercial drone fleet sizes are smaller than most people think. If you believe the hyperbole, there are hundreds of thousands of drones in the airspace at the same time, but the survey finds that the average commercial user has just two drones that are only flying two projects a month and most of those flights consume less than flight three hours.

There are many other insights in the report, but these three are especially worth highlighting:

  • Professional use of drones is growing. We find that almost three-quarters of all drones weighing over 250 grams are purchased for professional purposes—either governmental or business. This is up from last year.
  • DJI continues to dominate the market and has made gains this year in every category from drone aircraft at all price ranges, to add-on payloads, to software. Survey data shows DJI is still the dominant brand for drone aircraft purchases, with a 74% global market share in sales across all price points.
  • Most businesses and public agencies are new to drones, have small programs, and perform their own services. The survey finds that nearly three-quarters of businesses or public agencies have only had a drone program in place for two or fewer years.

How to get it

You can download a complete prospectus or purchase the report here: http://droneanalyst.com/research/research-studies/2018-drone-market-sector-report-purchase

Image credit: Skylogic Research

In this August 2018 report, we list the top software applications and data services for processing drone images.

This one-page report includes

  • Vendor name
  • Product name
  • URL link to the website

Read more about drone data services in 5 Tips for Evaluating Online Drone Data Services.

Complete the form to get your free report

We’ve just announced the release of our Quick Start Guide to Drones in Public Infrastructure. This new report is the third and final series of white papers we’ve done to provide a complete primer to drone use in specific industries.

The report consolidates our best insights into the challenges and solutions drones add to inspecting assets like bridges, dams, highways, towers, and railways. It shows how drones add value to digital representation of physical assets and what information companies and public agencies are gleaning from the data their drones collect.

The paper answers questions like:

  • How big is the public infrastructure inspection drone market, and who are the major solution providers?
  • How do state DOTs, civil engineers, railroads, and telecommunications firms use drones and what challenges must be addressed?
  • What do you need to know about regulations, pilot certification, insurance, and training?
  • What are the best practices for adopting drones into existing workflows?

Here is an excerpt from the Drone Use in Public Infrastructure section:

“MDOT estimates that a standard bridge deck inspection takes eight hours, a crew of four people, and heavy equipment – costing at an estimated $4,600. The same inspection with a drone, however, requires just two people and two hours to complete at an estimated cost of $250.

A March 2018 survey, by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, found that 35 of 44 responding state departments of transportation (80%) are using unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for a wide range of purposes. The survey also finds that 20 state DOTs have incorporated drones into their daily operations. All 20 are deploying the technology to gather photos and video of highway construction projects. In addition to photography, 14 states also reported using them for surveying, 12 for public education and outreach, 10 for bridge inspections, eight for emergency response, six for pavement inspections, five for scientific research, two for daily traffic control and monitoring, and one for conducting high-mast light pole inspections.

Of the 35 states deploying drones, 23 have established comprehensive policies that cover the acquisition, operation, airspace restrictions, and training and permitting of drones and pilots. Twenty-seven of the state DOTs said they were adding full-time staff to operate and maintain their drone fleets.”

The 10-page report also provides a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) for evaluating and designing your drone program and comes with an appendix that includes links to valuable online resources such as attorneys, advocacy groups, training & certification, and waivers & authorizations.

You can get the free report here.

Image credit: Emerald Expositions

Knysna, South Africa, July 26, 2018 – ALTI UAS, world-leading unmanned aircraft developer and manufacturing company, launches advanced Ground Control System (GCS). A complete control and command station for the ALTI Transition unmanned aircraft system as well as other stand-alone aircraft control or camera gimbal and sensor control unit.

The ALTI GCS is an advanced, modular, multi-link unmanned aircraft command and control system. It features everything from a high-quality intel computer, pre-loaded with all the relevant mission planning software, dual screen design layout, backup data telemetry link, long range control link, main digital data link (flight planning and telemetry) as well as HD video support, all integrated seamlessly into a lightweight Pelican Air travel case.

An optional Range Extension Package is available for the ALTI GCS, which boasts a long-range data and video operation of up to 100km, made possible using a pneumatic telescopic mast and directional grid antenna along with a 10W Microhard amplifier and optional antenna trackers.

The ALTI GCS is complete with Intel NUC computer including wireless keyboard and mouse and comes standard with duel 15.6” LED HD display monitors allowing for 160°/160° viewing angles. The digital and video link is powered by Microhard MIMO 2.4Ghz pMDDL2450 ENC radio systems, a solution that provides the bandwidth and range needed for complex data intensive applications.

The ALTI Ground Control Station is designed specifically for the ALTI Transition, It is the ultimate all-round compact GCS solution for effectively controlling the ALTI Transition and other similar unmanned aircraft” said Duran De Villiers, Director, ALTI UAS.

The ALTI GCS is compatible with the ALTI Transition, a highly capable, reliable and affordable civil use commercial VTOL (vertical take-off and land) aircraft. The Transition features impressive endurance of up to 12 hours, 3m wingspan, and with zero take-off run required, making it a pure VTOL unmanned aircraft.

The ALTI GCS is compatible with various other unmanned aircraft, fixed wing, rotor wing, as well as hybrid aircraft, small quadcopters to large, long endurance fixed wings and more.

The ALTI GCS is available with and included in any purchase of the ALTI Transition and also available for sale as a stand-alone product. For more information on the ALTI GCS and ALTI Transition contact:

Telephone: +27 44 382 7051
E-mail: 
sales@altiuas.com
Website: www.altiuas.com

Luzern, Switzerland – July, 2018

Drone Harmony reinvents the way people fly drones commercially. With its professional flight planner users gain safety and quality due to full automation, from obstacle avoiding plan generation to the actual flight execution. The app collects ultra-high resolution images and videos.

The unique benefits of using the Drone Harmony app include:

  • Full automation: Plan generation, obstacle avoidance and flights are all done automatically.
  • Full 3D interface: All interactions from objects definitions through plan generation to the flight itself are visualized in 3D to eliminate uncertainty and errors.
  • Better quality in less time: Collection of ultra-high resolution images and videos, precise  and fully reproducible in a fraction of the time.
  • Easy to use and learn: Intuitive interfaces, full visualization, training in less than 30min.

Drone Harmony works with a number of industry partners on drone workflow automation for various  industrial use cases, including Bentley System’s Reality Modelling team, SiteSee (AUS), The iGlobe Group (RSA), VertSpec (USA) and EasyInspect (Denmark), as well as dozens of customers and resellers around the world. Drone Harmony enjoyed fruitful collaboration with these companies on projects ranging beyond cell tower inspections.

More than 20’000 experienced professional pilots, hobby pilots and even beginners already benefit from the powerful Drone Harmony mission planner.  For this reason Drone Harmony offers different pricing / license plans:

  • The Basic Version ($29 lifetime price after a 30 days free trial period) is ideal for individuals flying their drone during outdoor activities or holidays.
  • The Pro Version ($29 monthly license after a 14 days free trial period) is perfect for a small company operating with an inspire offering complex inspection, mapping and professional cinematographic services.
  • The Business Version ($99 monthly license after a 14 days free trial period) is suited for a drone business performing regular inspections with several professional drones at larger scale, requiring consistent data, reduced time on site and the ability to deal with complex data capture scenarios.
  • The Academic Version ($49 monthly license after a 14 days free trial period) is intended for universities, research groups and institutions with research projects involving professional drone flying.
  • Enterprises with many job sites that require seamless and customized integration of drone operations into the company workflow processes will be able to get a customized Enterprise Plan. The fight planning platform allows Drone Harmony to quickly create new flight patterns tailored to the enterprise’s requirements.

Moreover, Drone Harmony mission planner app is the basis of a new fully automated capture app tailored for cell tower inspections, featuring a scene-centered workflow, a full 3D planning environment and obstacle avoidance. Automated workflows have proven their potential to reduce the death toll of tower climbers and to cut inspection costs by as much as 50%. Planning and setting up the inspection flight with Drone Harmony takes about 5 – 10 minutes. A game changer.

The iGlobe Group which is a specialized integrator, focusing on geospatial orientated applications in the mining, municipality, utility, and private sector, has already tested Drone Harmony Cell Tower Scan extensively. Both managers and pilots are enthusiastic about this app. They were able to reduce the inspection time from 19 to just 8 hours and drastically increase the quality of the deliverable.

Drone Harmony was founded in 2016 by a team of highly educated problem solvers with a passion for drones, software and automation. From the very early days, Drone Harmony have set out to tackle the mathematical and engineering challenges of enabling cost-effective deployment of drone technology in industries, where existing technologies were unable to deliver.

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INTERGEO is approaching 2018 with a forward-thinking conference programme. Under the headline “Geoinformation – the DNA of digitalisation”, this year’s event is focusing on the digital transformation of business and society. From 16 to 18 October 2018, the INTERGEO conference in Frankfurt will contextualise key developments and scenarios for a geoinformation-based digital future. “As a cutting-edge location for both businesses and universities that boasts an excellent international reputation, Frankfurt offers the perfect conditions for hosting this leading international trade fair. Over the course of three days, the spotlight will be placed on the products, solutions, know-how, innovations and visions behind geoinformation in the era of digitalisation,” explains Prof. Hansjörg Kutterer, President of the INTERGEO host, DVW (German Society for Geodesy, Geoinformation and Land Management). “And we confidently label geoinformation the DNA of digitalisation. After all, in the same way as humans are shaped by their genes, geoinformation is steering the digital revolution.”

Droneblog readers now have an opportunity to get a free entrance pass to INTERGEO 2018. Use voucher code Droneblog_IASEXPO18, and follow these simple steps to secure your place:

  1. Redeem the voucher code at www.intergeo.de/tickets and get a free ticket to the fair.
  2. As soon as you have successfully registered, print out the ticket and receive free access to INTERGEO 2018.

Don’t miss this great opportunity to see first hand new, emerging technologies and the future of the digital revolution

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Previous articleTerra Drone Corporation Develops Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) in “Drone Highway Initiative.”

Terra Drone Corporation have developed UTM’s new function based on Terra UTM, in regards to the technical verification of “Drone Highway Initiative.” * 1 Tokyo Electronic Ventures (TEPCO Ventures)* 2 and Zenrin Co., Ltd. are promoting.

In March 2018, in cooperation with the TEPCO group, Terra Drone carried out Automatic drone flight utilizing simulated data assuming acquisition from meteorological observation equipment attached to the power transmission facility.

Demonstration

 (1) A linkage between meteorological observation data and Terra UTM.

Terra Drone and TEPCO Ventures linked processing data acquired from meteorological observation instrument attached to the power transmission tower to Terra UTM.

(2) Drone flight utilizing meteorological observation data

When Terra UTM recognizes data of strong wind which is beyond a previously determined threshold acquired from weather observation instrument(we preset threshold), Terra UTM automatically takes the drones to the prescribed evacuation area.

 

Results of demonstration

According to the success of the demonstration, the critical essence of the “Drone Highway Concept” to improve the safety of airspace where drones fly by various sensors attached to TEPCO’s power transmission tower is useful. Besides, the practical utility of Terra UTM as the platform for the concept and its extensibility is also proven.

By providing Terra UTM as the platform for various projects including the “Drone highway concept,” Terra Drone and TEPCO Ventures continue to contribute to the safe and secure drone flight, and eventually, realize the “Revolution in the Sky.”

 

* 1 Toward the realization of “Drone Highway concept” http://www.tepco.co.jp/press/release/2017/1399151_8706.html

* 2 TEPCO Ventures Co., Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of TEPCO Holdings Co., Ltd. established in May 2018 and succeeded to the drone highway Initiative. TEPCO Ventures Website: https://www.tepcoventures.co.jp/

Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/the-city-burg-town-city-2989754/

The success of the tourism industry has skyrocketed with the new popularity of drones. With a strong online presence of these visually stimulating aerial videos, people are becoming more interested in travel. They crave to reach new heights and travel to different places, thanks to the videos of breathtaking views that are popping up in all social media platforms.

Now, helicopters are no longer needed to capture aerial coverage because drones now available for use. One of the most prominent posts across all social media are travel videos taken by drones. Let’s take a look at how drones contribute to tourism marketing.

Photo Credit https://pixabay.com/en/drone-copter-quadrocopter-3183244/

Innovation in Video Content Creation

Thanks to drones, the hospitality industry has dramatically cut costs on producing high quality aerial videography and relevant video content promoting travel destinations. These videos replace mainstream, smartphone photography for the consumption of online viewers. They aim to increase number of views and “shares” week after week. With the help of social media platforms, many dream destinations all over the globe have been discovered after their aerial videos started “trending” online. It’s easy to entice travelers when they see cinematic videography of their dream destinations, and with the use of drones, some of the most beautiful aerial video has been captured and posted online.

Promoting Isolated Places

Drones are highly capable of capturing places not known to many people. Business owners of hotels and resorts located on top of a mountain or in the middle of an unknown island have turned to drones for tourism campaigns. What’s more, travelers themselves who love to capture amateur aerial videos promote these places as they share their experiences on social media. The possibilities of these amateur videos reaching to numerous audiences are endless.

Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/drone-drone-pilot-copter-3453361/

Producing Videos to Promote Leisure Activities

When traveling, people do not only visit to see the place, they want to experience the leisure activities being offered and enjoy the amenities. Quality videos of different activities while capturing the whole landscape of the locale have helped tourism boost its online presence everywhere. Heart pumping activities can be captured as they happen, giving thrill to those who crave adventure.

Photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/ceremonial-event-1046538/

Promoting Culture

Through Videos People have made travel goals to see different tourist attractions around the world. But one thing that attracts people to certain places is the opportunity to experience a unique culture. Postcard-worthy pictures and iphone shots cannot compare to the cinematic drone videos that are the staple of tourism video campaigns. The site of a new city in natural light catches the interest of travelers, showing a true “feel” of how it is to be in that particular location.

Tourism drones have revolutionized tourism campaigns, helping grow economic activity in more ways than one. They creates opportunities for videographers to showcase the wonders of the world, and to promote various cultures as well. After all, a wonderful culture deserves appreciation from millions of viewers and soon to be regular visitors.

Guest post by Amanda Shaffer

Amanda Shaffer is a freelance blogger and outreach specialist. She enjoys slow-paced travel to the distant corners of the galaxy, always bringing along her trusty pooch, Bond. Amanda enjoys snapping super-professional photos with her phone or – when she’s lucky – exploring with a friend’s drone for a bird’s-eye-view of new adventures. For inquiries, you can find her on LinkedIn here.