For more than 20 years, Draganfly has been a leader in the commercial UAV space, providing drones, software, support, and services to clients in industries such as public safety, mapping & surveying, agriculture, and mining. Building on this legacy, the company showcased its new Heavy Lift Drone, Commander 3 XL Drone, and Long Range LiDAR system at the recent Commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas.
At that event, Commercial UAV News had the opportunity to speak with Draganfly CEO and President Cameron Chell. During our discussion, Chell talked about the state of the UAV industry and the importance of collaboration and cooperation among drone companies.
Commercial UAV News: At the Commercial UAV Expo, you took part in the Drone Visionaries panel. Can you tell us about that discussion?
Chell: There were a few key themes, but a lot of our discussion focused on regulation, regulation, regulation. This whole industry, as you know, lives and breathes on regulation, and, for the most part, I think everybody believes that it needs to be regulated for everybody's benefit. So, that was a big part of the discussion, but another big part was actually about collaboration and cooperation in the industry and how we can grow a whole ecosystem. Where we are at today in the commercial drone industry is kind of like the early days of computers when some people made drives and some people made operating systems and some people made other components. Now, 30 or 40 years later, that industry has consolidated into a few big, integrated providers.
Commercial UAV News: How close is the commercial UAV industry to that kind of consolidation?
Chell: We're a long way from that in the drone industry, but what's really important is that the industry continues to have a “coopetition” type of attitude so that we can get the use cases out there for customers. When we can prove to the public what we can do, the whole industry grows. I think the industry as a whole has to continue to tell customers our success stories.
Commercial UAV News: Based on your discussions at Commercial UAV Expo and your experience at Draganfly, where to do you see the industry headed in the next few years?
Chell: At Draganfly, we're fortunate enough and privileged enough to have been around probably longer than any company at this event. That doesn't mean we're the biggest, the smartest, or the best. It just means that we’ve stuck it out the longest and survived. We've seen the ups and downs so many times, and we're definitely on an upswing again. But there's going to be consolidation, and when that happens it’s going to get a little “dog-eat-dog.” But at this point, as I said earlier, everybody needs to show customer wins. Also, I think, for the most part, you've got people that are in the industry because they love the industry. They're passionate about what it can do. So, I think when you combine those things, you've got a great formula for our industry to grow, and there are going to be great customer successes.