Three Things to Consider Before Buying an Unmanned Aircraft System

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) have become increasingly popular across industries and are being used for new and different tasks every day, such as inspecting infrastructure for risk assessment, counting and managing crops and conducting warehouse safety inspections. Businesses have begun to understand the economic, safety, efficiency and data collection possibilities UAS offer, increasing the importance of conducting thoughtful considerations before purchasing an unmanned aircraft.

That’s why we work with FLYMOTION, a veteran-owned company that provides end-to-end technology solutions, system integration, training and support to professionals across public safety, government, defense, security and the enterprise. The company leverages Panasonic TOUGBOOK® devices to control many of their UAS solutions across various industries.

In a recent webinar, Ryan English, CEO and co-founder of FLYMOTION, joined me to discuss the benefits of rugged UAS technology and the increased demand for those solutions in the field. Here are three things potential customers should consider before purchasing an UAS.

1) Identify Your Requirements

The first thing that customers should take into account when considering a UAS purchase is pinpointing their needs and requirements and how they intend to use the technology. For example, militaries worldwide are investing in UAS technology to survey and conduct strategic offensive measures to protect and defend. Equipping the UAS with various sensors such as infrared or high-powered zoom cameras allows for the collaboration of important information that may not normally be attained through other methods. Another example is in the transportation and logistics industry, which has adopted drones in several areas because of their ability to maneuver around and above otherwise difficult to reach areas like warehouses and shipping container ports and terminals. Identifying the specific requirements for the job at hand can help ensure that the customer makes the correct choice when purchasing a UAS.

2) Partner with a Professional Organization

Customers should also consider purchasing their UAS through a professional organization. Working with a group that has in-depth knowledge and experience deploying this technology can help the purchasing process run as efficiently as possible. UAS technology costs have come down considerably, which has lowered the barrier to purchasing one. This decrease in costs has been great for increasing accessibility to drones, but without proper training customers could be putting themselves in potentially harmful situations. By working with professional organizations, the customer can trust that they will be working with someone that has the knowledge, training and experience for their intended use.

3) Prioritize Training

We’ve seen a lot of unnecessary accidents due to a lack of training. While online and virtual lessons are available, having hands-on training under the supervision of an expert is paramount to ensuring UAS safety. In most cases, hands-on flight training sessions are preceded by classroom or online sessions that discuss the theory behind UAS flight. Jumping from these learning sessions straight to hands-on flight training allows operators to more easily relate theory to practice. In these hands-on lessons, operators learn about and experience flight maneuvers, common flight hazards and skills for industry-specific UAS services, such as mapping, precision agriculture and thermal imaging.

To share an example, those operating Panasonic-enabled FLYMOTION drones undergo hours of supervised training before actually flying the drone out in the field. This training is conducted in realistic settings to simulate the same stress, challenges and terrain that operators will face once taking the UAS into a real-life situation. The thorough training helps to drastically reduce the number of accidents or damages once the drone is taken out into the field.

Identifying the need for a UAS and one’s specific requirements for an application is a great initial first step, but partnering with a professional organization for the purchase and participating in the proper training can ensure a smooth implementation in the field. To watch the full webinar hosted by Military & Aerospace Electronics, visit here. To learn more about the TOUGHBOOK family of mobile devices that can support UAS, visit here.

[Image Credit: FlyMotion]