What are “commercial” or “enterprise” drones, and why would businesses choose to use drone technology?

Drones are used in commercial environments for several reasons, the most common being:

– Enhanced efficiency

– Cost savings

– Boost human safety

– Improve accuracy of data collection

– Better decision-making

– Common applications for commercial drones include:

– To provide an “eye-in-the-sky” view of a building, landscape, structure, etc which would not easily be achievable without a drone. This perspective can help businesses to make more informed decisions than ever before, at the fraction of a cost compared with other ways of getting an aerial perspective (the obvious comparison being using a manned aircraft).

– To significantly improve the efficiency of surveying missions without sacrificing accuracy of data collection, while using aerial routes to build highly accurate and versatile 3D maps to support progress tracking and decision-making and produced standardised deliverables for efficient and accurate progress tracking and reporting.

– To safely, quickly and accuracy inspect a building, asset or structure from an aerial perspective using thermal camera technology to identify heat loss, danger zones and more.

– To assess critical situations quickly and easily from an aerial perspective to aid decision-making by first responders on the ground. Examples include search and rescue missions where thermal signatures can be detected from the air and coordinates sent to ground response teams, aerial pursuits, and obtaining an aerial “big picture” of an emerging situation to ensure ground teams are properly deployed and coordinated.

There are currently several key restrictions applied to flying drones in the UK, including:

– Never fly more than 120m (400ft) above the surface.

– Always keep your drone or model aircraft in sight (often referred to as “Beyond Visual Line of Sight” or “BVLOS”).

– Never fly in an airport’s flight restriction zone unless you have permission.

However, the use of drones for commercial applications is becoming more widely recognised and welcomed in the UK, so it is likely that regulations will change regularly. Everything you need to know about flying drones can be found via the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and additional information and guidance can be found from reputable professional bodies including ARPAS-UK.