- One in 10 companies with revenue of $50 million and more use drones, according to a Blue Research report commissioned by commercial drone services and software provider Skyward, a Verizon company. Of the 1,736 individuals surveyed for the “State of Drones in Big Business” report, 92% said their company saw a positive return on its drone investment within one year.
- The study suggests that drone use is on the rise across all U.S. industries, led by the construction and engineering sector with a 35% adoption rate, followed by the federal government’s 24% adoption rate. Nearly one in five respondents said they use or expect to use drones in the future and 84% said they expect their company’s total number of drone flights to increase this year.
- The ability to capture more information, be more efficient and save time were rated as the top three reasons to use drones by 97%, 92% and 91% of respondents, respectively.
While 51% of respondents to Skyward’s survey said their company was initially “eager and excited” to use drones, the others said getting employees to buy in has been a challenge.
Some of this difficulty may stem from tight regulations on drone use by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). A recent report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine called FAA's drone approval and certification requirements “overly stringent” and said that the current approach to risk assessment “can be a significant barrier to introduction and development of this emerging and rapidly changing technology.”
This tough regulatory landscape is reflected in Skyward’s survey, which found that “staying up to date on laws/regulations” is the top obstacle for companies that use or expect to use drones, cited by 49% of respondents. Creating an internal process that ensures adherence to these regulations came in second, named by 43% of respondents.
Several drone service providers are helping alleviate compliance concerns by connecting companies with a network of licensed and experienced drone pilots. Firms who are just getting their drone initiatives off the ground can protect themselves from legal risk by outsourcing drone navigation through services like DroneBase, Uplift and Drone Dispatch.