By Barry Alexander, Founder and CEO, Aquiline Drones
Although awareness of and appreciation for commercial drone systems is growing, many businesses remain unaware of the opportunities drones offer to achieve better business results, help streamline business solutions, and elevate profitability. Drones are unique aerial vehicles and are ideal for providing crucial aerial perspectives to assess emergency situations like the recent Australian wildfires, and for delivering critical medical supplies to those in need. Drones are even being used to deliver information to the public, as in the current coronavirus pandemic.
However, most businesses do not realize the intrinsic benefit of integrating drones into their day-to-day operations, whether it be for asset inspection and management, perimeter security, precision farming, aerial ranching, video production, or surveying and mapping. The list continues! But a point of note is this: A drone is just mechanical hardware unless used optimally to gather information. Such reconnaissance activity allows users to capture, analyze, manage, model, and share data insights – usually in real-time. This level of application calls for a robust computing platform that supports complex drone operations and the footage they generate. This is facilitated with cloud computing technology.
According to a recent survey by RedLock, only 7% of businesses firmly believe they have decent visibility over all important company information from drone usage in a well-structured and well-secured enterprise cloud. To address their inadequacies, companies are now seeking out unique, customizable, technical platforms such as the AD Cloud. These platforms offer everything involved in completing commercial drone operations in one centralized setting. The AD Cloud in particular provides a variety of salient features ideal for building highly customizable and large-scale solutions.
Building a Cloud from the Ground Up
Core features and services offered by some of the nation’s most notable cloud companies that have mastered and integrated artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet-of-Things (IoT) include:
- Modularity – Scalability for high-density drone operations across industries requires a modular cloud design, in which services can be added a la carte, allowing businesses to start small, then scale up as needed.
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Specific – It is important for cloud environments to cater to the industries for which they are being used. Specialized cloud platforms such as the AD Cloud provide algorithms for UAV operations, manufacturing, and maintenance, making the AD Cloud more valuable and more desirable for businesses that want to integrate UAVs into their operations.
- Aviation Compliance – Drones are aircraft. Accordingly, they must operate and should be held to the same or similar standards as manned aircraft. These standards should be established and regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). A drone-specific cloud should maintain built-in compliance rules to ensure that connected devices remain safe and compliant with regulations and the law.
- True Autonomy – Allows for autonomous UAV operations with plug-and-play mission capabilities.
- Data Insights – Specialized algorithms can be created for flight control, traffic management, enhanced awareness, terrain modeling, and image recognition, along with specific additions for more sophisticated scenarios.
- Full Lifecycle Governance – This includes providing connectivity and insights across the drone lifecycle – from product development, to manufacturing, to UAV operations and MRO – resulting in greater efficiencies and reduced downtime.
- Dynamic Dashboard – A full-capability digital dashboard accessible on any device delivers a comprehensive, standardized, and flexible user experience (UX) with the power of the cloud at one’s fingertips. Users can plan, collaborate, and execute missions, livestream data and video, and obtain real-time data insights – all from within a single and customizable enterprise asset management (EAM) system.
Further, a comprehensive cloud system such as AD Cloud can also aggregate data, which enables companies to make statistical forecasts and logical inferences for future resource planning and allocations.
A Bright and Lofty Future
Despite its extreme growth within the past decade, the global cloud computing market is forecast to exceed $623 billion by 2023 as 80% of organizations – many using drone technology – migrate to the cloud by 2025.
One key projection is that cloud computing will change the hardware architecture of drones by simplifying these flying robots. With low latency, higher bandwidth, and a highly reliable connection to the cloud, a drone only needs to carry sensors, without requiring any additional power.
Drones and edge computing technology will continue to grow exponentially, allowing for more resolution, more sensor types, and more flight capabilities, while supporting demand for higher frequency and more data. In fact, drone fleets and swarms will have the ability to launch from edge computing hubs to further automate the process.
Another major highlight will be the quick creation and activation of a comprehensive cloud computing-drone infrastructure as directed and overseen by the FAA, the regulatory agency for all UAVs – ensuring safety remains paramount.
Lastly, the recent introduction of a bipartisan bill in Congress entitled, The American Security Drone Act of 2019 essentially bans the use of foreign drones – mainly Chinese drones – and other unmanned aerial systems that have been purchased with federal dollars.
The drone industry continues to gain in purpose and popularity, empowering companies that use them with powerful, customized cloud computing capabilities. Cloud-enabled drone technology increases these companies’ operating efficiency, efficacy, safety, and ultimately, their bottom line. As more of these cloud computer-connected devices take to the sky, we’ll see a world that is truly interconnected within the technological atmosphere.
A veteran pilot, serial entrepreneur, and visionary leader, Barry Alexander is founder and CEO of Aquiline Drones, a full-service, US-based commercial drone company that boasts an integrated manufacturing and supply chain, world-class MRO services, and real-time data insights to improve ROI across a variety of industries. Barry’s ultimate goal is to revolutionize the entire American drone market through innovative technology and key community and governmental partnerships to create a world in which humans and drones live and operate in harmony for the betterment of society.