Commercial drone use set to reach new heights

Don Gribble 6 November 2017

Drone with Australian city in background

Do you work in an industry that can benefit from using drones?

The use of drones for commercial applications is on the rise around the world and here in Australia. Drones are currently being used for aerial photography, inspection work and surveying in a variety of industries, with the number of businesses realising their potential growing every day.

What industries can benefit from using drones?

The number of industries using drones is growing exponentially, with agriculture and construction predicted to join their ranks in a big way very soon. Business sectors currently employing drones include:

  • Emergency services. Police departments are increasingly using drones as cost-effective aerial surveillance tools.
  • Forestry. Tree farmers and forestry departments use drones to record forest activity including species regeneration, survival counts, weed mapping and post-fire analysis.
  • Insurance. Loss adjusters are increasingly using drones as a fast cost-effective way to assess and quantify damage after natural disasters such as floods, cyclones and bushfires.
  • Telcos. Communications providers are using drones to inspect infrastructure in inaccessible areas to determine repair and maintenance requirements.
  • Media. Journalists and filmmakers are using drones to provide aerial footage not obtainable any other way.
  • Mining. Mineral exploration companies are using drones to conduct aerial surveys of potential mineral deposits.
  • Real estate. Real estate agents and vendors are using drones to give potential buyers aerial views of properties and neighbourhoods to give them a better idea of their location in terms of proximity to shops, schools, public transport and arterial links.

Industries tipped to start using drones in a big way very soon include:

  • Agriculture. Farming investment in drones is currently small, but as more begin to see their potential to revolutionise agricultural practices, adoption of drone technology is expected to rise rapidly and embrace new applications such as aerial spraying, stock control, soil and field analysis and crop monitoring and protection.
  • Construction. Surveyors and civil engineers are beginning to take drone use very seriously, using it more and more for asset inspection work on properties, roofs, chimneys, power lines, pipelines, railways, bridges and anywhere normal access is restricted, time consuming and dangerous.

Insurance requirements

As the use of drones escalates, legislators are struggling to keep up, with Australia being one of the first places to put regulations in place regarding drone operation.

Drones used for commercial purposes in Australia must be piloted by a licensed operator who is subject to a range of rules and regulations aimed at protecting public safety and privacy.

As a result, drone operating companies are increasingly taking out insurance to cover their liability, with more insurers providing this new form of business insurance. Cover provided normally ranges from accidental damage to drones and their payloads through to personal injury and property claims resulting from their actions.

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Picture: ymgerman / Shutterstock

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