With the drone industry poised for even more growth and creating even more jobs than we’ve seen in recent years, many are starting to wonder what’s behind this trend besides excited investors. In this article, we’ll go over the reasons behind this recent growth and why now is a great time to consider switching careers and joining us in the drone industry.
Even recent statistics show that the industry will continue to grow in the next few years, going from 2022 estimated $4,120.8 million to $11.56 billion by 2030. The industry growth here is also only in the consumer drone market and doesn’t take into account use cases like agriculture monitoring, healthcare delivery, intersite construction transport, general logistics, and manufacturing inspection, among many others.
Combining all use cases and markets, it means that this incredible growth won’t just provide jobs for drone manufacturers for smaller consumer drones, but it will also increase the adoption of drones for other use cases as well. This is great news because as the societal acceptance of drones increases via consumer channels, it makes the adoption of drones in business cases easier.
Still, the industry is too new to have professionals with more than a decade (in extreme cases) of experience exclusively in drones. Most professionals have shifted their career path from a related industry like aviation or robotics to the advanced aviation industry, where organisations are developing and operating uncrewed aerial systems (UAS), creating a huge demand for jobs that didn’t exist more than 10 years ago, like UTM/U-space engineer, drone flight engineer or drone airworthiness engineer.
Using drones is more practical compared to traditional techniques
Professor Carlota Perez, an honorary professor at several universities in the United Kingdom, explained that there are five main technological revolutions that have transformed the world: the Industrial Revolution (1771-1829), the Age of Steam and Railways (1829-1873), the Age of Steel, Electricity and Heavy Engineering (1875-1918), the Age of Oil, the Automobile and Mass Production (1908-1974), and the Age of Information and Telecommunications (1971-Today). Some, however, are saying that we’re currently on the cusp of moving into the 6th technological revolution, which is being powered by artificial intelligence.
This is important because it allows current risk and safety measures that were holding the drone industry back before, like not having a reliable detect and avoid system, are starting to become possible at the same time new regulations like the U-space regulations in Europe have gone into effect. This allows many industries to begin using drone-powered solutions to help transform their business practices so extremely that it resembles a new age of technology entering society.
This means disrupting how traditional processes were done, which were oftentimes dangerous, time-consuming and costly. An example would be telecommunication tower inspections, which are among the riskiest tasks that someone can do during a job. This is due to the height of the towers, which are around 60 metres and can be fatal if an accident occurs. AI-powered drone inspections are already being used now to prevent these risky operations while providing companies with a more cost-efficient, safe and effective solution.
Sustainability is easier with UAVs
Almost all technological revolutions have caused a negative impact on the environment, with forests being destroyed for wood and resources, oil causing additional carbon to be released in the atmosphere and natural gas contaminating the water. That’s why many are concerned that drones could prove themselves to be another potentially harmful technological development; however, this couldn’t be further from the truth as drones appear to be an expectation to this rule.
Drones reduce the general carbon footprint of standard operations like in the agriculture industry by performing the same task that would have been done by several people or heavy machinery. This means that to achieve the same harvest for a field, the farmer needs less equipment and people while using a drone that’s designed with a battery-powered motor and can recharge from a clean energy source.
This means drones are capable of performing automated checks by themselves based on pre-planned activities, like monitoring the health of crops or watering a field when the earth begins to get too dry. As drones are now capable of monitoring various variables that contribute to the health of agricultural plants, it means that they can be left to work in these areas and cover a larger distance, allowing farmers to utilise more land more efficiently.
As climate change also increases the incidences of forest fires, drought and extinctions, it means the monitoring system of drones has been more needed. Scientists and researchers are currently working with various drone organisations to begin testing the potential of drones to use when studying biodiversity, like how the recent forest fires in Spain impacted the recovery of the affected areas. Drones were sent to do missions on a regular basis to provide researchers with data that could be used in the future to increase the speed of recovery of these areas in the future.
Food, logistics and healthcare delivery
Another way that drones have been minimising the carbon footprint of standard business practices is in the field of delivery. This includes food, healthcare and general logistics delivery. This is most obvious in developing countries where last-mile delivery is only possible through cars or even by foot, which are either major carbon emitters or simply inefficient.
The World Economic Forum explained that it was only through the help of drones that these deliveries became easier, potentially saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic when certain communities that were cut off from traditional transportation infrastructure weren’t able to access vaccines without considerable waiting periods. The same holds true for other deliveries as well, like epinephrine pens, blood, ventilators and other critical supplies.
The future where drones are being used to transport goods between cities and hospitals is already here with the example shown above where Matternet is already supporting the Swiss healthcare system by transporting goods. They also have competitors in this field, like Jedsy, who are also supporting healthcare delivery in Switzerland.
Other companies are jumping into similar use cases, like Manna Drone Delivery in Ireland, that are starting to offer food delivery services and planning to expand to other countries in the upcoming future. The licensed, autonomous drone platform used by Manna can fly up to 80 kph and transport payloads weighing up to 3 kg. As the usage of drones for local food delivery gains popularity and consumers desire faster and more effective delivery choices, private companies are working hard to create this growing market.
Healthcare and food delivery are easy applications as the payloads are still relatively light compared to cargo drones for logistics, which are still under development by organisations like FlyingBasket, SkyDrive and Volodrone.
How can drones help companies save more money and increase safety?
So, how can organisations start to jump into this innovative new technology to help decrease their expenses and increase their overall productivity? Well, the answer isn’t that easy because there are just not enough trained professionals in the drone industry to help support the demand being placed on this growing industry.
Finding someone who knows how to operate a drone used for construction inspections or an engineer who is capable of producing essential components needed for a specific drone application is still incredibly difficult. Even things that seem as simple as a drone winch have only recently been created and iterated on by companies like A2Z Drone Delivery, which really points to the fact that we’re standing at the beginning of a young industry and not in the middle of a growing one.
This means inspections are still being performed based on traditional processes carried out by operations teams, which are often labour- and time-intensive; however, even though the development of drone technology has made inspections more cost-effective and practical, it’s still not accessible to those who want to use it.
That means the various benefits of performing drone inspections compared to physical inspections are not being harnessed to their full potential. And, even if we assume a construction company did find a team to begin implementing drones into their organisation, it still requires that this team understands how drones can be used to capture photographs at various periods under identical circumstances, making it simpler to spot any defects or damage that would have gone unnoticed during manual inspections.
The use of thermal cameras in UAVs is also important as it leads to more accurate outcomes than physical inspections since they may detect problems that humans might miss, like water leaks or cracks. These thermal cameras, while incredibly accurate and useful, still require that someone with experience and background in drone thermal imaging is on the team to interpret the results.
The tradeoff for organisations is that there will be a necessary shift from traditional methods to new and innovative drone methods that require increased recruiting efforts to get the drone professionals to start decreasing machine downtime and changing inefficient inspections with more accurate and cost-effective ones. In some industries, like the oil and gas industry, UAVs can help save up to $5 million per day.
How to enter the competition for drone industry professionals
The spike in uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) use in recent years has created a huge demand for industry professionals with the experience and expertise to implement these solutions effectively. It’s not enough to just buy the technology needed to perform remote drone inspections, an organisation needs someone to take responsibility and understand how these inspections work as well on a fundamental level, which is where many get stuck.
The question we hear over and over again is, “where can I find experienced drone professionals who can help me and my organisation use these new technologies to improve operations?”
This is why we’ve created DroneTalks Jobs to fill this gap and help organisations find new team members as drone technology expands. This also gives professionals in other industries the chance to look at drone-specific jobs in the industry to make a career shift and gain experience with the organisations powering the drone revolution, which they can then take to support other organisations who would like to join as well.
While you might be wondering why the drone industry needs a specific job portal, we can tell you that when industries are as small as this one, it’s nearly impossible to find a job, start a company or navigate the ecosystem without a reliable network.
Jobs in the advanced aviation industry are hard to come by without networking
Just as other early-stage industries, the drone industry requires networking, which plays an important role for those looking to join or make a difference. Due to the complex regulatory requirements currently placed on drones, it also means that there are only a handful of people who understand these regulations, like Murzilli Consulting, who can help get drone operations off the ground (legally).
Sharing ideas with others in the industry also means the most effective ways to approach a problem to happen through co-creation from seasoned professionals. That might be the best way to develop an AI-powered detect and avoid system where two software companies come together to create a joint solution because the industry simply lacks the professionals and experience needed to create the solution entirely in-house.
Another benefit of networking is establishing a name that your colleagues will remember, which becomes useful when searching for a job in an industry with a very limited number of companies, making it unlikely that your specific position will open soon since the 20 organisations that need a professional of your standing already have someone. A study has also shown that those who engage in networking events more frequently have higher chances of success and improved performance.
For companies, these partnerships can also help attract more talent to apply for your positions, so if you’re a telecommunications software working with a telecommunications company, it might be more likely that the professionals in the telecommunications industry that have heard of your partnership will join you in the drone industry due to that reputation. In other words, the credit that a company can get from a positive image can be a significant competitive advantage in business.
So, if networking offers the key to innovation, partnerships and industry growth, it’s not really hard to understand why we decided to create DroneTalks Jobs. Join the network today and start getting to know like-minded professionals and organisations in the drone industry.
If you want to join the largest network of drone professionals on the first industry-specific job portal, you can register here!