10 Interesting Use Cases for Drones and UAVs
A drone observes a crack in the stucco of a high rise in Naples Florida during an inspection.

10 Interesting Use Cases for Drones and UAVs

Drone Use cases are everywhere

When most people talk about drones, they think of a small toy that can fold up into a pocket. “oh thats nice, you can take some pretty photos for realtors,”  they say, as if to dismiss the entire multi-billion dollar drone services industry as a group focused on pretty pictures. The truth is, there is so, so much more to the drone industry than that. Here are ten use cases for drones.

1. Construction Progress Photography

Construction companies are always on the lookout for ways to improve their margin. This is because many construction companies deal with large dollars, millions often, and a 1% savings can be the difference between being in the black or sinking into the red. Many drone services have centered around construction, but perhaps none has been as prevalent and consistently deployed as progress photography.

Progress photography allows construction clients the ability to visualize progress on their sites and gives the company marketing fodder all in one purchase. For this reason, Construction progress photography usage has boomed in the industry. 

blended photo of progress on condo construction site
This is a composite photography made from blending two progress photos of the same condo building under construction.

2. Roofing Inspections

One of the largest industries to become early adopters of UAV technologies was the roofing market. It makes sense, the old way of inspecting roofing was dangerous, time consuming, and potentially damaging to property. Drones give roofing clients a way to stay safe and out of harms way while outstanding drone service providers have built software to further simplify the inspection process. 

drone flies over roofing for inspection
A Professional Drone Solutions drone flies over a roof during an inspection

3. Elevation and Facade Inspections

Rounding out the contracting use case portion of our list is the application of drones for elevation and facade inspection. These flights may seem less ubiquitous than flights for roofing inspections, but there is good reason for that. These flights are one of the most important to have flown by professionals. 

Facade and elevation inspections often happen 

Drone High Rise Inspection
A drone observes a crack in the stucco of a high rise in Naples Florida during an inspection.

4. Stockpile and Inventory Management

Drone Surveying and Mapping is one industry that is just starting to see some serious growth. Among one of the largest growth sectors is in surveying stockpiles for managing inventory. Drones capture much denser datasets than traditional methods and can calculate quantities to much tighter tolerances. Beware however, many states have regulations and licenses required to perform these services. 

Drone Volume Calculations
Output from software that generates volume calculations for stockpile and inventory analysis.

5. ALTA Surveying

Survey companies can use drones to augment their ground crews and reduce the amount of time required to do complex surveys such as ALTA surveys. Using a drone can cut as much as 50% off of the time to survey and transfers much of the work from in the field to in the office in a CAD program. This helps reduce loss of work due to inclement weather in areas prone to rain such as Florida and the Caribbean. 

This is a sample of an ALTA survey produced using drone methods.

6. Marketing Video and Photography

Rest assured, drones are fantastic at capturing beautiful photography and video. One of the main use cases for drones comes in the form of marketing. Drones can keep up with boats and vehicles, track subjects such as runners in races, and the most recent drones sport relatively large sensors to make it all look brilliant!

Roof Inspection

7. Real Estate Photography

Yes, yes, we did lament people always associating drones with pretty pictures of a house. But lets face it, so far we have listed size other good reasons to use drones and drones are really good at taking real estate photos.

Skilled drone service providers will be able to really make real estate photography pop with advanced editing tools. Parcel outlines, vibrant coloring, and sky replacement are all advanced editing options. 

Drone Marketing Photography
A still shot from a drone real estate photo shoot in Gainesville Florida.

8. Real Estate Video

TWO?? TWO SECTIONS ABOUT REAL ESTATE??? I know, I can hear you yelling through your screen. Look, calm down. Video is truly a different animal altogether. Drone technology marries so wonderfully with cutting edge video editing methods and innovative real estate video is born. 

Outlining a parcel in video and marking and tracking areas of interest around the property in 3D are just two awesome use cases for UAVs in the real estate video market. Throw in some music with film cuts at just the right drop of the beat and the result is beautiful. 

This shows the different ways a story can be told through the use of drone video. Notice all the information given to the viewer embedded in the video itself. 

9. SAR - Search and rescue

This one is pretty epic. Drones are being widely adopted by government and volunteer agencies across the USA. The drones used have thermal and RGB (visual) cameras that help operators find missing persons, locate suspect packages, and track fugitives on the run. 

How popular is this use case? Some agencies are integrating drone operators on almost every team they have. Talking to Fox4 News Collier County Sheriffs Office’s Drone Operations Coordinator Jim Baker said the following:

“We have operators on the SWAT team, we have operators that are on the bomb squad, we have operators that are on road patrol, we have operators that are in investigations,” 

With new thermal payloads and dual sensor integrations coming out on a yearly basis from companies like FLIR, Parrot, Skydio, and DJI, this is a market ripe for taking off. 

Thermal Image of Fire
This image captures the thermal signature of a fire in Sint Maarten in the Caribbean

10. Flying Humans

Alright, this one is a bit off in the future. Heck, the FAA hasn’t even figured out how they are going to treat these vehicles in terms of regulations. One thing we do know is that the future where drones carry passengers is not far away.

Even without regulation, aircraft manufacturers like Cirrus and Sikorsky are creating pilot aids that act more like drone controls than pilot assistance features. For example, the Cirrus Jet, pictured below, has a feature that auto lands the jet at the nearest airport with the push of a button in the event that the pilot becomes incapacitated. It even talks to the air traffic control tower alert them of the emergency!

Drone Plane
The Cirrus Vision Jet (SF50) sits on the lawn at EAA Airventure. The Cirrus Jet features a number of pilot aids. Newer planes will blur lines between pilot aid and drone-like autonomy.

Thanks For Reading

At Professional Drone Solutions, we care about the legal and safe flight of drones. We are happy to lend our decades of flight experience to our clients and those in the community looking to employ drones to better the world. Want to learn more about our company? We have a variety of services you can learn more about by clicking here.

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