2018 will herald the transition of the commercial drone market from an early adopter tool to a “mature professional service offering”, one of the UK’s leading experts on drones is predicting.
Elaine Whyte, who consults on drone technology for business services giant PwC, believes a rapid increase in the use of drones in construction projects, in particular, will lead to its usage becoming accepted as mainstream practice.
She said: “The drones market will continue to move from an early adopter tool to a mature professional service offering. Drones will become a key tool in enabling organisations to gather data about their operations quicker, more easily and more cheaply than ever before. For example, we predict a real take-up in the use of drones in capital and infrastructure projects to provide an interactive 3D visual of the site to enhance all stages of the build.”
Mrs Whyte said the use of drone technology in such environments would deliver benefits on multiple fronts.
“Uses include assisting the planning application process by providing 3D data with BIM (building information modelling) overlays and the visualisation of proposed infrastructure for local communities, monitoring performance during the build (including adherence to design, contractor performance and interactive stakeholder reporting), along with providing a ‘golden record’ of the site for handover to the maintenance side of the business along with supporting any potentially lengthy litigation claims.”
With drones poised to have an impact on business operations of companies in a broad range of industry sectors, PwC established a global centre of excellence that uses drones and data analytics to help clients solve business challenges two years ago.
It predicts that the global market for drone technology and delivery is now worth over $127 billion (£94 billion).