Drones In The Supply Chain: The Evolving Drone Landscape and Ecosystem

According to Goldman Sachs, the drone market is projected to be a $100 billion opportunity between 2016 and 2020. 

One of the biggest adoption drivers is the sheer number of use cases where drones can be applied ranging from inspection, to surveillance, to search and rescue in areas such as construction, agriculture, insurance claims, offshore oil/gas and refining, journalism, customs and border protection, real estate, utilities, pipelines, mining, cinematography and public safety.

Inspection has a particularly strong business case since it’s far more economical to use a drone to inspect critical infrastructure such as buildings, bridges and oil and gas pipelines than to deploy humans on these elevated, risky tasks or to deploy more costly alternatives such as helicopters.

Drones can quickly scan these structures and use cameras and sensors such as thermal imagery and gas detection to detect faults, leaks and structural weaknesses. It’s generally a cheaper, faster, safer and more accurate way to detect and isolate these issues than using people or helicopters. The same is true for capturing visual imagery in humanitarian efforts where drones can capture images at a far higher resolution, more quickly and at a much lower cost than satellites.   

Scott Smith, CEO, with North Texas UAV platform startup, Drone Innovations Inc. (DI2), sees tremendous near-term opportunity for drone and autonomous vehicle technology to play a significant role within supply chain, logistics and distribution environments and for emerging drone ecosystems to create new sources of value for all constituents from pilots and operators, to students and educators, to manufacturers, and to logistics and service providers.

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Also published on Medium.