POWERING UP
RotorDrone|August/ September 2020
Drone space consolidation is about to become a reality
Colin Guinn

This spring has been a period of overall bad news across most tech and logistics industries, but analysis from a multiple team think-tank consisting of Guinn Partners, Scott Lumish, and Woodside Partners has observed three trends that may be a promising sign for the drone industry.

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Federal, state, and local governments, as well as large enterprises, are accelerating the use of unmanned systems on a global basis.

We first saw this trend emerging in China with JD.com and their use of a drone fleet that has successfully completed over 20,000 flights and delivered over 70 tons of goods. This drone fleet operates from designated drone ports with over 20 landing sites, and in some cases, with over eight drones in the air at a singular time being operated by a single operator. We have found that while companies must still abide by federal regulations for safe drone operations, the extreme nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has placed higher priority on utilizing drones to assist emergency responders during this time.

Similar examples can be found across the United States where companies like Planck Aerosystems and DJI have created programs aimed at assisting federal agencies and local governments. Residents in Daytona Beach, for example, have become accustomed to DJI drones fitted with loudspeakers flying overhead, assisting police in announcing the closure of parks. Planck Aerosystems is working in tandem with the United States Air Force Research Lab to create solutions, guidance and navigation systems and protocols for sUAS vehicles so they may operate better in harsh environments. The company was awarded a contract to craft what they refer to as a “visual company” for sUAS vehicles so they may better operate in existing commercial environments.

Google Wing has completed over 1,000 deliveries of essentials in a single rural area in Virginia in only two weeks. With the ability to deliver everything from toilet paper to medications, the delivery program allows many elderly people to stay home and still get the critical items they need. With the increase in both demand and successful flights completed, we expect to see the upward trend of drone use continue.

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