In our step-by-step examination of the path to profitable drone operations, we have looked at initial considerations, expenses optimization, and strategies to increase revenue. In this final part, we discuss the steps you can take once your business is up and running that will allow you to position yourself for maximum growth and stay ahead of the BVLOS industry.
Minimize your growing pains
As your business scales up from a small “cottage industry” outfit to something more substantial, there are bound to be growing pains as you change. By planning and implementing a few key procedures, you can minimize these and smooth the path to further growth.
Laying out standard policies and procedures, and documenting these effectively, is key to ensuring smooth operations. All of your team members should know what company policy and best practices are concerning drone operations, risk management, emergencies, and other vital aspects of the business. Repeatability provides consistent results, and you can then analyze these results and compare them against your goals to ensure that your business keeps improving.
A significant aspect of your operations will involve managing the data generated during drone flights. You need to make sure that you have somewhere to store this data if required. You allow room for growth, which involves storage space and robust database software that will enable you to search even when data volumes become massive quickly. Think about whether you want to have in-house IT staff or to outsource the work.
As your operations and drone fleet expand, so may the geographical area you cover. While you can cover everything from a centralized headquarters location, it may be more efficient to establish satellite offices that can manage drone crews operating at the region’s edges. You can even work with trusted third-party service providers and drone pilots already based in the local area instead of keeping everything in-house.
Stay on top of BVLOS regulations
Currently, most permissions for BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) operations are granted in the form of waivers that allow drone pilots to fly without needing to stick to the standard LOS (line of sight) regulations in place. The drone industry and aviation authorities know that this is not scalable or efficient. It is only a matter of time before concrete governing BVLOS regulations are laid down.
Once these regulations are established, the BVLOS drone industry is set to grow massively, unlocking expanded operations for applications such as cargo delivery, surveying and inspection, and urban air mobility (UAM). Compliance with these regulations is sure to involve a lot of box-ticking and paperwork, so make sure you keep up with the evolving requirements. Falling behind the curve and having to play catch-up will likely cause you to be late to market.
Some things to consider may include:
UTM (unmanned traffic management)– you may be required to sign up with a UTM drone service that will manage your flight authorizations and airspace tracking in conjunction with all the other aircraft sharing the same airspace.
Remote ID – related to the above, you will be expected to comply with a standard for providing your drone ID and location information while in flight.
Data and connectivity – any BVLOS certification will be contingent on your drone platform possessing a robust and safe connectivity solution.
Align with the right partners for maximum growth
Once you have demonstrated that you can run successful drone operations with consistent results, you may seek a close relationship with a significant investor who can use your services and technology to further their own business. Depending on your drone platform, this could include a retailer, a utility supplier that needs essential asset inspection facilities, a government agency, or a municipal body – the list continues to grow.
Customers such as these have the cash flow to provide you with regular business and income. They are also likely to have the infrastructure and logistics that can help enhance aspects of your BVLOS operations, such as transporting spare parts or moving pilots and their equipment quickly from place to place.
A high-profile client will also put you “on the map” and cement your reputation in the industry, meaning that further work is almost sure to come your way.
No matter your goals as an emerging player in the BVLOS drone market, Elsight can help you on your journey. In addition to providing a high-reliability drone connectivity solution that ensures safe operations and regulatory acceptance, we can also provide you with the benefit of our experience and help you scale up to whatever level you desire.