Widening deployment of commercial drones depends on improving autonomy, regulatory approvals, and educating operators and businesses. This past summer, SkyOp LLC announced that it was adding enterprise consulting services to its existing training offerings. The Canandaigua, N.Y.-based company said it has built on its Ultimate Drone Reference Guide and added free assessment tools to help enterprises determine where drones can add value.
Close to 1 million commercial drones will be in operation by 2023, predicts the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). From public safety and construction to utilities inspection and even deliveries, enterprises need to maximize their returns on investment (ROI) and competitive advantage from drones, said SkyOp.
With rapid changes in technology, regulations, and industrial applications, enterprises need to stay abreast of things such as drone security and data analytics, said Brian Pitre, founder and chairman of SkyOp’s board.
“NASA’s UTM [Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management] initiative is a five-year project,” he told The Robot Report. “Commercial entities need to apply for FAA permissions, and widespread Amazon drone deliveries will probably happen in two and a half years.”
Drone training, from classroom to boardroom
SkyOp initially developed its Ultimate Drone Reference Guide as part of its copyrighted curriculum. The company has licensed its curriculum to high schools and colleges. It can also help companies devise unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) applications, procedures for regulatory compliance, and internal training and data-analysis capabilities, said the company.
“A recent market report demonstrated that 88% of new drone users had a positive ROI in one year or less,” stated Pitre, founder and chairman of SkyOp’s board. “The key to realizing that outcome though is eliminating the bumps in the road, from initial application ideation to program deployment.”
“SkyOp can help corporations eliminate the guessing game when it comes to evaluating the business impacts of a drone program,” he added. “More often than not, the idea for an enterprise-wide program starts with an engineer or industrial inspection specialist that sees the value of UAVs, but [he or she] needs some expertise to back up their pitch to the C suite.”
“The market is not well-informed on how to create a drone program,” Pitre said. “Our cloud-based drone assessment tool helps customers meet their needs. Version 1.2 of the Ultimate Drone Reference Guide is 39 chapters and is a drone-agnostic electronic textbook.”
“Our assessment tools and the initial insights our specialists can provide at no cost will be invaluable to those that see the inherent competitive advantage that drones can bring to their respective fields,” he said. “We’re working with institutions and enterprises and designed the Zephyr flight simulator with a partner.”
SkyOp keeps flying during pandemic
The company said it has expanded its virtual drone flight training program because of travel and social distancing restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In this time when it’s advisable to ensure social distancing, we’ve designed an effective alternative to face-to-face instruction using distance learning tools for our clients and partners,” said Pitre. “While we routinely support our institutional educators and corporate drone trainers remotely, we are continuing to meet the evolving demands of this pandemic by reinventing the way in which we deliver some of our lessons.”
“Through our Enterprise Drone Consultancy, our unique assessment tools, and our cloud-based platforms, we are able to provide the necessary guidance on how to undertake the massive job of building a UAV program, enabling enterprise corporations to realize the business impacts of drones even amid the COVID-19 restrictions,” he said.
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