As drone operators get familiar with a wholly new approach to FAA regulation under Part 107, organizations like PrecisionHawk and Skyward are busy taking active steps to ensure the logistics of that process will be easier than ever for experienced and new UAV operators. Their recently announced a partnership, full details of which are available via the press release below, provides a one-stop shop for customers to plan, map, manage and analyze their assets using a drone platform.I was able to catch up with Skyward CEO Jonathan Evans and PrecisionHawk CoFounder and President Chris Dean to ask them a few quick questions around how this partnership might change the expectations of operators as well as about the way it could impact anyone looking to take to the sky under Part 107. Jeremiah Karpowicz: It’s clear that putting together complete commercial drone solutions is a priority for both Skyward and PrecisionHawk, and partnerships like this enable the creation of those solutions. Do you think these complete solutions will inherently change the expectations operators have in terms of wanting and needing those kinds of solutions as opposed to thinking they’ll always have to assemble such things for themselves?Jonathan Evans: Absolutely. And really, we already have this expectation for technologies that have been around for a while. We expect our cars to come with speedometers and steering wheels and our computers to have pre-installed video cards and web browsers. It would be a time-consuming hassle if we had to take care of these things on our own, and when it comes to businesses, the stakes are so much higher. No business should have to assemble a patchwork of disconnected apps. It increases the chance that data will get lost and creates avoidable business risks. And then there are the enormous opportunity costs: The more time businesses spend assembling and coping with disparate systems, the less time they spend providing value to customers and earning revenue. Is this partnership more about easing the logistics for current UAV operators and users, or helping new ones get started?Jonathan Evans: Both - our current customers want and deserve greater efficiencies and integration from the tools they rely on to get the job done. Just as drone hardware is becoming more sophisticated - the platforms drone operators use need to communicate and integrate their strengths. Partnering with PrecisionHawk means both Lancaster operators and DataMapper users get the benefits of a simple and connected management platform. Each phase of this partnership will bring increased automation and more intuitive connection between the platforms. Of the three essential components in the partnership, which do you feel will have the biggest immediate impact for users? Chris Dean: The ability to link PrecisionHawk’s software platform, Datamapper, to Skyward’s fleet management platform is going to have the most immediate impact for the industry. When you have a complete solution like this one, you are allowing a drone operator to operate efficiently, effectively and provide answers to an end customer that impacts ROI within a single platform. Skyward technology keeps track of a user’s fleet to make sure they operate efficiently, and PrecisionHawk brings the unique solutions that answer a customer’s questions. That holistic system is what this integration unlocks and what the industry has been missing. If I’m someone working in the agriculture, aggregate or energy industry and I’m finally ready to take a serious look at drone technology in light of changes to regulation under Part 107, what new options does this partnership specifically present to me?Chris Dean: Under Part 107, there is an enormous amount of potential for people who want to get into the drone industry, and as we put this partnership together that was at the top of our minds. We are providing a one-stop shop to the market, so an operator does not need to piece together different technologies (hardware, software, safety) to generate meaningful information. It just works. It’s the full stack to seamlessly connect operational tempo and insight generation so that a new user does not have to be an expert but can leverage the technology with a single click.On the other side of the partnership, we that believe that as an increasing number of drone operators join the airspace, we need to provide best in class safety services to protect the operator and their drone investment. Skyward’s airspace data map is rigorously analyzed by airspace and geospatial experts to ensure its accuracy and by linking that with our LATAS airspace safety platform and ground obstacle database we are able to make the operator as knowledgeable as possible about the environment around them during flight.
- The integration of Skyward’s flight operations system with the Lancaster drone, the DJIPH Smarter Farming package and Precisionhawk’s DataMapper.
- Skyward’s airspace intelligence tools will be integrated into PrecisionHawk’s LATAS safety platform.
- When used together, customers will gain access to a seamless endtoend commercial platform, from planning to aerial data collection to analysis.