Inside Unmanned Systems

DEC 2018 - JAN 2019

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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Page 55 of 59

AIR IMPLEMENTATION 56  December 2018/January 2019 unmanned systems inside ning to think about what the ROI will be, what you're trying to prove with the program and what you'll need, including software, training, equip- ment and insurance." Adding drones to a company's workf low of- ten calls for a significant amount of change, so it's important to have the right people on board from the beginning, Hine said. Beyond the le- gal department, this includes the company's aviation unit (if there is one) , the risk depart- ment and other key stakeholders. Identifying a UAS Center of Excellence to help guide the program is also beneficial for companies that plan to scale. And of course, there has to be a business case. Proving drones can save time and money will get buy-in from key stakeholders and help companies build comprehensive programs with clear direction and goals, Speicher said. "There is a ton of data that's produced by any successful drone program—both data cap- tured via the sensors as well as data about the telemetry of the aircraft," Stepler said. "Who's operating what drones and where. Keeping track of that data is all part of integrating drones in the business processes to make sure you get real ROI on the drone program and that they're being operated safely with an acceptable level of risk." Taking the time to plan on the front end will help avoid major headaches down the road, Stepler said, and the scenario where incorporating UAS be- comes more of a hindrance than a ben- efit to a company's bottom line. CONTRACTING WITH SERVICE PROVIDERS Service providers are a great option for companies that don't want to take on the "huge burden of creating a program," Speicher said. Wading through the different providers can be a challenge though, and com- panies must ensure whoever they hire is Part 107 certified and has the expertise needed to perform the required missions. DroneBase is one of the companies that pro- vides data as a service, CEO and founder Dan Burton said. Through DroneBase, companies can get the data they need to make important decisions without buying hardware or training employees. Many of their customers have multi- ple assets in various locations and don't want to buy a fleet of drones to carry out missions. With services like what DroneBase offers, they can request a flight for a specific day and time. The data is sent directly to them via DroneBase's ap- plication programming interface (API) system once the flight is complete. Organizations that work with service pro- viders also have access to the latest and great- est drone technology, Burton said. They don't have to worry about storing, maintaining and repairing systems; they just put in a request for a f light when they're ready. While there are many benefits to working with service providers, it's important to find a partner that's scalable, affordable and reli- able, Burton said. Can they complete the job faster than you in a way that's return on invest- ment (ROI) positive? Are their pilots Part 107 certified? Do they use high-quality hardware and sensors? Do pilots have experience f lying industry-specific missions? Stepler suggests putting a method in place to evaluate contractors as well as company-spe- cific policies and procedures for them to follow. "You don't want to dictate to the service pro- vider how they operate, but you should audit how they operate," Hine said. "Audit SOPs, maintenance records, training records, policies and procedures. It's also important to document simple standards like if they're expected to have a hard hat on while f lying. The typical bread and butter stuff should be written down." Service providers also must be focused on safety, Stepler said. It's a good sign if a provider honestly says they won't perform a certain job because the risk profile is too great. Photos courtesy of DroneBase. DroneBase is an unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) service provider that fl ies missions for a variety of diff erent companies and industries.

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