Defining drones in commercial sites: their evolving role and the challenges they face

Defining drones in commercial sites: their evolving role and the challenges they face

Drone technology has emerged as a game-changing tool for a wide range of commercial sites, from prestigious global company headquarters to expansive manufacturing plants. These uncrewed aerial vehicles offer the promise of revolutionising operations, all while delivering significant advantages in the process. 

However, in an era characterised by a constant stream of innovative capabilities and regulatory change, how can these sites effectively embrace drone technology for the better? 

Below, we’re discussing the evolving role of drone technology in commercial sites and the benefits they seek to bring, as well as the core considerations that must be considered before this transformative technology can be implemented.  

Drones and commercial sites: a wide range of possibilities 

A wide range of drone applications have already been identified for commercial sites such as factories, office headquarters, film and entertainment centres, and much more. Some of the most promising use cases found are: 

  • Routine inspections 
  • Drone deliveries 
  • Incident response 

Routine inspections 

Routine inspections can be revolutionised using drones. Now, sites can perform inspections safely, efficiently, and without the need to put personnel at risk in the process. These inspections may involve checking security perimeters or helping conduct regular maintenance by surveying roof panels, fixtures, and more.  

Then, the digital data generated through drones can be processed to analyse current conditions and can also be compared to historical data to establish degradation rate and predict when repairs are necessary. 

Drone deliveries  

Deliveries are another area that can be made more productive, rapid, and streamlined through drone use. In other sectors – most importantly healthcare – drones can be used to bring urgent supplies to those who need it most. In Rwanda, a system for delivering medical supplies has been met with all-around success, while the Royal Mail has also begun trialling its bespoke drone delivery system.  

Taking these deliveries into the commercial sector can help team members make sure that they are constantly provided with the tools and support needed – optimising processes in the future.  


Want to learn more? Why not read our latest guide on the future of airport operations?

A suite of benefits for sites of any size 

Drones promise to deliver advanced capabilities and innovative new processes. But what exactly does this mean for sites?  

Efficiency: by using drones, tasks can now be quickly and reliably completed – all while following the due diligence and regulations needed to ensure safe flights. 

Productivity: as drones take on more and more lengthy manual processes, operators who would be otherwise engaged will now have more time to focus on data gathering and processing.  

Safety: drones can access areas that would be unsafe for personnel to assess on foot, such as high places or sites falling into disrepair.  

Quality: Drone use allows a more data-driven approach over other traditional means – helping users to take further actions based on reliable, assured, and detailed data.

The future of drone technology in commercial sites 

Drone technology is only continuing to advance at breakneck speed, bringing with it a wide range of innovations for commercial sites and other sectors. 


Widespread emphasis on AI 

Each time we attend industry gatherings such as DSEI, we find that more and more developers and systems place a newfound emphasis on AI – using it to enhance the accuracy and responsiveness of their tools. 

Now, counter-drone sensors (electro-optical and radio frequency, for example) are expected to integrate AI capabilities to automatically detect, classify, and track drone incursions. 

As a result, operators can coordinate more precise and effective responses that take advantage of the best information available. 


Multi-role capabilities 

In the name of efficiency, cost, and technological innovation, drones and their detection systems are expected to adapt to a multi-role approach.  

For drones, this multi-role approach would see them being deployed for a wide range of use cases, often simultaneously. By maximising the efficiency and productivity of these uncrewed vehicles, sites can ensure that they are getting the greatest value possible out of their investment, all while enabling their current operators to focus on other areas that demand their attention.  

For drone surveillance sensors and systems, this multi-role approach will allow a single solution to offer several distinct detection capabilities. For example, sensors monitoring the perimeter of a prison site will also be able to monitor aerial spaces to prevent drones dropping illicit contraband. 

Urban air mobility 

Urban air mobility remains to this day a key objective, and we expect this focus to continue moving forward. While ambitious, using drones to transport individuals across sites, factories, corporate headquarters, and various other settings will signify the next chapter of drone use. Once achieved, this will no doubt transform how we interact with this technology on a daily basis. 


How to incorporate drone technology into your site 

Any commercial site looking to introduce drone capabilities needs to consider several steps beforehand.  

First and foremost, businesses need to evaluate their specific needs, and whether these needs can be best fulfilled with drone technology. If drone technology is a viable answer, then a solution can be developed that is designed to take regulations, safety, and best practice into account 

With a designated solution in place, businesses must then consider the expertise and qualifications of the individuals who will be responsible for operating these drones. Consider questions like “Can I fly a drone legally here?” and “Are there regulations that pertain to my location or operating environment?” 

Then, it’s important to select an appropriate model of drone for the tasks at hand. This decision hinges on various factors, including the intended use case.  

  • What payload capacity is required?  
  • What is the maximum weight the drone should carry?  
  • What kind of camera or sensors are necessary to meet the site’s specific needs? 

Employee readiness and acceptance is another factor. Is your user trained to operate drones safely? To get the maximum output and efficiency, you will need to devise ongoing training and proficiency assessments that will ensure that your team remains informed on the latest best practices and regulations. 

Integrating drone technology with your site can be a complex process that often involves the handling of multiple regulations, risks, and other considerations. That’s why our dedicated UAV can help you navigate the complexities of drone integration and ensure a smooth transition that enhances your business operations.  

Learn more about how our UAV solutions can transform your site’s operations today! 


Creating safer spaces 

At OSL, we’re fully committed to delivering groundbreaking solutions concerning drone flight, detection, and security. From our work leading Project HADO® to our suite of Counter-Uncrewed Aircraft Systems, discover how our wide range of offerings can enhance the capabilities of your unique site today.