With the drone industry still in its early days, there is still a lot of ground-up, organic development with small grass-roots drone programs. This paradigm is steadily changing, however, as drones start to deliver real and tangible value to companies. Some businesses are starting to scale their drone fleets in a big way. But along with this growth comes added complexity and demands that require more sophisticated tools and systems. What worked for running one or two drone missions a week or day, no longer works for a fleet of drones conducting operations simultaneously at multiple sites.
Back in October of 2019, Commercial UAV News spoke with Dave Bush, Co-Founder of Dronecloud about the complexities of managing the business of flight and how Dronecloud brings flight management together with project management into an integrated platform that cuts operating costs and saves time. Today, this focus on providing businesses with the tools for scalability has landed them an appointment to supply Network Rail with an enterprise-level drone management platform.
“With the number of drone flights at the level it is and only going to climb higher in the future, we needed a flight management system to manage the load to ensure we are as efficient and safe as possible,” explained Rikke Carmichael, head of Air Operations at Network Rail, in a recent press release. “It will show drone pilots if another drone is operating nearby, as well as alert the pilot to other potential ground or air hazards in the area of the flight.”
According to the press release, the deal covers the development and license of the software over the next five years. Dronecloud will support Network Rail with managing the deployment of multiple monitoring and surveying drone projects of their rail infrastructure, as well as their in-house and contracted drone pilot’s missions.
Seeing companies like Network Rail recognize the need for advanced management tools to monitor their missions means that the value of the technology is being used at scale by major players in the transportation industry and is a promising sign of maturity for the industry.
“In many industries drone operations have evolved organically, with more and more tasks being completed by drones as the benefits are better understood,” stated Jan Domaradzki, CEO of Dronecloud in the press release. “As operations become more complex, we’re experiencing a high level of enquiries from companies that are keen to ensure that they are both compliant, efficient and, above all, safe in how they operate. With dozens, if not hundreds of drone projects running, the traditional mosaic of multiple datapoints, spreadsheets, emails, is just not a sustainable way of managing operations. It’s a busy an exciting time to be rolling out our software to more clients. Network Rail has demonstrated that it is forward-thinking, its team understands the challenges and complexities of enterprise scale drone operations, so we are well aligned on where we can support them now, and in the future.”
As the industry grows and operations become more complex, the demand for more sophisticated solutions, like what Dronecloud offers, will also grow and will be an integral part to scaling drone programs in the future.