After the FAA’s release of their Proposed Rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems in February 2015, many small businesses have been further pressuring the administration to hurry with passing the actual rules and regulations for sUAS. UAS has the unmeasurable and unknown potential to positively effect the world and these regulations are vital in implementing drone business in a safe, appropriate and pragmatic way.
Small Business Uses for Drones
The known possible uses for drones with small businesses are already exponential. Drones can be applied to many different areas of business to make operations more safe and economical along with delivering superior results.
Uses for drones in agriculture are some of the most pragmatic. Drones can be used to survey crop fields and measure the chlorophyll in plants – eluding to the overall health of the crop. Agriculturalists can use this information to better apply fertilizer and water to have a higher yield while reducing cost and pollution and conserving water. This type of farming is called precision agriculture.
Thermal imaging can be vastly improved with the use of drones for inspecting solar systems, pipelines, wind power stations and high-voltage lines. One simple application is a thermal imaging camera attached to a drone to find “hot-spots” – making the solar energy systems much more efficient.
Oil and Gas
UAS can be used to measure and quantify oil spills, determine how the oil is moving in water and provide information and imagery to the command center. Infrared (IR) imaging can be extremely helpful to survey oil spills making it easier to see where the oil is spreading. This critical information increases the situational awareness of first responders to the incident, increasing safety and the ability to make better decisions in the clean-up planning efforts. This reduces operational risk and cost along with increasing efficiency for oil and gas.
UAS provide high quality, near instant imaging that is so important in the GIS community. Obviously the special cameras you can equip different UAS with allow the drone operator to better map, model, query, and analyze large quantities of data within a single database according to their location.
UAS main advantage in the construction space is their ability to travel and document where humans and machinery cannot without great difficulty. This allows companies to get a more accurate survey of the progress of their project and apply resources and time to the best areas possible to increase productivity at the site.
Real Estate/Land Development
The UAS applications in real estate and land development are quite extraordinary. Brokers are using UAS in many different ways ranging from capturing views from windows in properties to giving clients the ability to see what their drive home every day will be like. Flying the drone around land development properties enables brokers to show exactly what the entire space is, what surrounds it and giving buyers a completely different perspective at a low cost.
These six spaces are only six of the multitude of possible uses for drones to better mankind. Let us not forget how they could be used for humanitarian efforts (discussed in-depth in a previous blog) to help give aid to the world from shortages in medicine and food to search and rescue operations after disasters.
Representatives from different spaces in the UAS community appeared before the house on July 15th to attempt to communicate the intense need for the FAA to pass the regulations – fast. Safe integration of UAS is obviously the number one priority for the FAA, and most business owners. Issues with insurance, safety and privacy are the main concern of the FAA’s slower pace in passing regulations but small business owners are ready to be able to build and execute their dream UAS companies. The FAA 333 Exemption process is lengthy and costly to many of these businesses who would much rather prefer the ability to know what rules to follow and start operating their companies.