Jessica Schulz | 02/16/2021
High-tech drones as assistants of the skies?
Since long time drones are not only used private but also for commercial purposes in a wide variety of fields – and their use is growing steadily. Whether mining, renewable energies, the automotive industry or logistics service providers – the range of services for the use of drones is enormous. The areas of application will certainly continue to grow in the future.
The following list is therefore only an excerpt of the fields of application in which drones are already being used today.
Areas of application for drones in industry
- Air traffic
For example at airports drones can be used to control runways or to inspect aircrafts.
Agricultural land can be managed more efficiently through the use of drones.
- Energy industry
Drones can be used to inspect wind turbines or solar farms, reducing risks for maintenance personnel and minimizing downtime.
- Distribution logistics
Drones are already being used in logistics, both to facilitate warehouse operations and to transport goods.
- Construction and real estate industry
Drones can be used to collect precise geographic data in the construction and real estate industries, which can be used for surveying and documenting construction sites.
- Large-scale industry (steel industry, refineries, power plants, water/wastewater management)
In the field of large-scale industry, drones can be used for a variety of purposes: i.g. for transporting components, monitoring plants or maintenance and repair.
- Drones are also already in use in other fields of application such as traffic management or environmental protection.
Depending on the field of application, drones can serve different purposes: ranging from inspection & maintenance, surveying, digitization and delivery of image and video material to assumption of high-risk work. Drones can save time and costs in many cases, work very efficiently and are mostly easy to use.
Excursus: The inspection of wind turbines, to give one example, is risky, time-consuming and usually involves long and inconvenient downtimes for the operator. In this case, a drone-based inspection brings many advantages: the work can be carried out in a shorter time and very flexibly. In addition, industrial climbers have more capacity for repairs as a result and can carry them out more efficiently thanks to the precise localization. Read more: Drone-based inspection of wind turbines
The German Air Transport Association (GATA) analyzed the German drone market in 2019 and assumed the current drone use:
Source: German Air Transport Association
The entire study as a PDF can be found here: Study German Drone Market (German)
In addition, GATA expects the use of drones in industry to increase by more than 560% by 2030 (GATA press release(German)). This figure shows the enormous potential of the commercial use of drones. In this context it is to hoped that Germany will react accordingly quickly in terms of decisions and regulations so that this fast-growing market is not slowed down in its innovation speed.
Legal basis for industrial drone use
It should always be noted that when using drones – regardless of whether they are used privately or commercially – the EU Drone Regulation must always be kept in mind. Accordingly, drone pilots need to find out in advance what is allowed and what is not. For example, when a drone license is required and that a drone insurance is essential.
Read more: EU Drone Regulation