DroneMate was published in the CAA’s Vector safety magazine

DroneMate was published in the CAA’s Vector safety magazine

Last month an article by DroneMate was published in the CAA’s Vector safety magazine

We won’t spoil the suspense by summarising the article, so read it!  Go on, you know you want to.

Adding a bit to it, though: we reckon people still haven’t really understood what the drone revolution means.  Yeah sure, flying taxis, Amazon, Uber and all that are the “glamour” bit, but for each flying taxi there will be perhaps a hundred or a thousand smaller drones flying about doing useful work.  Above cities, above infrastructure, above fields, above forests, above water.  In fact, a drone can collect valuable information above almost everything, at an extremely low cost.

Here are some rough numbers: the CAA has about 4770 aircraft on their registry, ranging from Airbuses to microlights.  That number is pretty static and, if anything, declining.  We reckon NZ drone sales- good quality ones that can go places- must be at least 2000 a year and growing rapidly.  After two good years of sales so far, perhaps even now drones outnumber manned aircraft?

And the revolution hasn’t started yet.  So far, this year has been busy for us exploring new uses and new customer requirements.  We believe that with cheap drones, the big cost becomes labour.  And where’s the big labour cost incurred? Driving to and from the survey or flying area.

For most uses, why not train the person on or near the site (site manager, farmer, linesman, contractor etc) to fly the drone themselves?  Its easier and cheaper to train them to do it rather than bring “the drone expert” in and, with a bit of training, the data they gather can be just as good in most cases.

Following this logic, the majority of drones will be operated by people who are not pilots, not “aviation minded” people and maybe not even people who have the slightest interest in flying.  It’s pretty important they know the air rules and what they really must never, ever do with a drone.  

And from the pilot’s perspective: they need to know there are people out there who have no idea how an aeroplane flies, what it does or where it goes.

In a word, the article is about “culture”: two types of users, one sky.