By Henze Gustave, Drone Solutions Support Specialist

Drone adoption is thriving in several industries and the aggregates and mining industry that Firmatek serves is no exception. As technology continues to improve, there will be fewer reasons not to incorporate UAV technology into your business operations. Over the lifespan of the commercial UAV market, the technological evolution has been exponential. From GoPros to RTK, drones are more advanced than ever before. However, with all of the operational benefits that drones bring to the table, there are a few concerns that contribute to lack of adoption.

Technological Expertise

One of the things that has hindered long-term adoption of drones is a lack of understanding and technological expertise. While drones may be easy to fly in theory, collecting good quality data with the technology can be more difficult than people imagine. This has led to many drones sitting on shelves and not being used. Many have also had bad experiences with drones because of this, which makes them hesitant to adopt the technology in the future. Service companies like Firmatek have a team of personnel who can not only fly the drone for a client, but also can train and equip the client to fly the drone themselves. These options make it easier for the client to have confidence in the information that they are receiving, which ultimately leads to them wanting to use the technology more frequently and for more applications.

Qualifications and Experience

Currently, there are very few guidelines and protocols as to what truly qualifies a good pilot. In traditional manned aviation, there are stringent protocols and procedures that pilots must follow to not only operate the plane, but also to prove their competence. Comparatively, for drone pilot certification, all one has to do is study and pass a 60-question test. So what makes someone a good drone pilot? At Firmatek, we believe training, experience, and expertise contribute to making someone a successful drone pilot. Adoption of drones into our industry has slowed due to those who have tried to fly themselves or  hire inexperienced and untrained pilots to capture data.  Partnering with a service company with strong internal procedures can alleviate some of the issues that these companies have seen in drone adoption.

Use Case Awareness

Lastly, one of the biggest concerns affecting the adoption of drones is lack of knowledge about what drones can do. Although awareness has improved over the last several years, there is much more work to be done. Many industries are still searching for the value in drones, and the general public only understands what they see on the news. We see this when we encounter someone who has never seen a drone before, and is under the impression that they are only used for pretty pictures. The reality is that there is a wide array of applications for which drones can be used to make the traditional way of doing those same applications much safer, faster, and cheaper. Companies like Firmatek work with clients to help them understand and develop use cases for drones in their operations.

We know drone technology has made 3D mapping and measuring a safer, more efficient process for the aggregate and mining industry. We’ve seen improvements firsthand at our client’s sites. Although drone tech is relatively new, drones are revolutionizing the way we work in numerous industries. As with any new technology, there will be learning curve concerns. Partnering with companies who are experienced in utilizing tech and have a comprehensive understanding of the industry will make implementation a smoother process. The operations that choose to incorporate drones into their workflow will soon see the potential benefits of creating a far safer and more efficient job site with drone technology.