As part of my Pop-Up Research Unit (#PUPRU) project we have just purchased a drone! Have you ever thought about how much fun you could have with a drone and a GoPro in the park behind the university building?
More importantly what would you do with a drone if you had one? How could you use it in your business? Today we had fun, but really #PUPRU has a purpose. It looks at emerging and disruptive technologies and asks how they could be used in technology strategies of organisations!
Inaugural test flights of the #PUPRU drone and a GoPro strapped on to it!
So obviously we made a video. It had to be done. I challenge anyone to say they wouldn’t have done the same thing!
But what is the business potential of drones? Amazon are now testing drones in UK airspace. The government have even lifted many flying restrictions for them. Suddenly the retail giant is a little closer to achieving their aim of delivery by unmanned aircraft. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has waved many of the rules that have until now effected drone usage. Jeff Bezos’s may achieve delivery of small packages directly to customers within 30 minutes sooner than we think.
“These tests by Amazon help inform our policy and future approach … We want to enable the innovation that arises from the development of drone technology.” – Tim Johnson, CAA policy director.
But as prices of drones drop what can you do with a drone?
So what other business possibilities are there for drones?
In farming drones are taking off. It is still a traditional industry, but actually the Japanese have been crop spraying with drones for over a decade!
In humanitarian response drones are being used worldwide. The United Nations has recently published an official policy brief about this. Other UN groups like the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) are exploring just how drones can be used for disaster response. Satellite has always been crucial in humanitarian relief operations. Satellites though are expensive, have some restrictions in how data can be shared, are effected by cloud cover and it takes time to get the images back to those that need them. Drones can produce images at much higher resolutions, rapidly and at a lower cost. Members of the public can even own drones of their own. When disaster strikes they can launch their own drones as a response to management of their crises.
Mapping and 3D modelling can be done with drones. The benefits of using drones to map infrastructure are huge. How else could Network Rail map the UK rail networks without huge costs or physical resources on the ground?
Filming with drones and GoPros
Just as with our test flight drones are known because many can carry GoPros. There would seem to be lots of movie-making possibilities but Hollywood hasn’t really taken to the idea. How could this disruptive innovation change the movie industry? Drones are cheaper and easier to manoeuvre than helicopters for sure! Actually, we just don’t know what a clever director could achieve with drones. I am certainly looking forwards to seeing our world from new perspectives!
Future projects for drones
At work I am already looking at way we can use the drone to capture great marketing footage for events and advertising.
But there are so many other uses. People might think drones are incredibly annoying, and in some case this might be true. Eventually though we are finding the positives far outweigh negatives and as more organisations are trying drones the systems are coming into place to make their operation more workable. How could your organisation use a drone? My research looks at how these technologies can be used in business so I would really like to hear opinions on how a drone could be used in different scenarios. Get in touch!