When we hear the word “drone”, one of the first things that come to mind is military warfare. It probably not your fault, seeing as the media mostly portrays Unarmed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) as a combative weapon for immobilizing terrorist activity.
Being a huge fan of Showtime’s TV show Homeland, I also had a one-sided view of drones myself. However, there is a much lighter side to the use of drones. Besides personal use, businesses can use them to facilitate their operations and deliver excellence for their consumers.
Although the distance may be limited for now, there are indications that their radius of operations will increase in the coming years.
Types of drones
Before we proceed, it is important we have a rudimentary understanding of the different types of drones available. Drones may be classified by their distance range, size or the number of propellers they have.
The nano drones (tricopters) are the more common ones mainly used for domestic purposes. They are close ranged and only have a camera. The mini drones (quadcopter) on the other hand, have a longer range, (but still limited). Their cameras are First Person View (FPV).
Regular sized drones (hexacopters) are mid-range drones, well-equipped with a GPS for tracking purposes. Large drones (Octocopter) are endurance drones and can be used for long distance assignments; mainly to seek and record activities in a particular area.
For the purpose of this article, we will be looking at how businesses use the nano and mini drones for to improve their day-to-day operations.
- Drones used to deliver Pizza
This is not news, but for some time now, retail and food brands have been toying with the idea of using drones to perform home deliveries for customers. No too long ago, Domino’s Pizza released a video showing how a drone could be used to deliver a box of Pizza to a customer.
The project was initially a UK marketing tool for the Pizza Company. Even though there are no current drone Pizza delivery operations, the idea has opened possibilities for such realities in the future. Look out, you next Pizza delivery guy might soon be a tri-copter.
- Warehouse equipment transport
Sometimes in large production factories or warehouses, transportation of equipment (or items) from one section of the factory to another can be a problem. Especially when you have to consider traversing numerous conveyor pulleys and other moving machines. Enter the mini drone. This quadocopter can be used to transport medium sized equipment between workers on opposite sides of the warehouse.
However, it is important to consider the lighting arrangement at your plant facility. If it is too dim, it can affect movement visibility and if it is too bright, the FPV relay may experience glaring. Dwayne Kula, President of My LED Lighting Guide says “Warehouses that use drones in-house require good LED mast lighting for clear visibility and unimpeded movement.”
- Sushi dining service
Have you ever considered being served at a restaurant by a drone? A sushi restaurant in London is already paving the way to deliver patrons’ orders via drones. YO! Sushi is using a mini drone; RC Drone quadrocopter and iPad with two affixed cameras so that chefs can deliver the right orders to its customers.
The drone isn’t entirely unmanned however; another employee is charged with the responsibility of seeing that the drone (also called iTray) is properly managed. There are also concerns about safety of drone delivery and open food, but YO! Sushi maintains that the short distance and the stability of the iTray is ideal for the service.
- Deliver customers’ dry cleaning
As businesses continue to look for new ways to stand out in their niche, more hi-tech options are applied. For instance, it would be nice to save time and manpower by hiring a robot delivery guy. A drycleaner in Philadelphia is using drones to deliver customers’ clean clothes right to their doorstep.
While this may take some time before it becomes mainstream, it is certainly a welcome development for some people. Although there is the tendency for heavy gusts of wind to wrinkle your nicely ironed dress shirt, efforts are underway to develop a more wrinkle-proof solution.
Do you have plans to include drone services in your business operations? The idea may be novel to start with, but you want to ensure it is entirely feasible. Take a cue from some of these businesses. Where do you think yours can fit in?