UAV operations have been on the radar for years by many companies, especially airline operators and aviation third-party service contractors for cargo transportation and aerial inspections. But so far, service opportunities are still restricted to small “off-the-shelf” UAVs that are only capable of offering about 30 minutes of flight with short range and limited payload.
It is very likely, though, that this situation will change in the upcoming years with the introduction of more robust UAVs, which until now were only available for military activities or prototypes in start-up companies. This unmanned air vehicle category is in the process of being certified for the general public as the regulations are being established by the aeronautical authorities with significant contributions from manufacturers and customers.
Several examples can be seen in regional markets around the world, such as Europe, the United States or South America and also across a diverse range of industries such as the Oil & Gas, Energy, Mining and others.
The main question is: Why do I have to - either as an operator or as a third-party service contractor – spend resources working jointly with other stakeholders on something that will certainly be available off the shelf in the next 3 years? And the answer is quite simple: those who can influence manufacturers and regulators, will not need to spend additional time on lengthy post-certification development and will be instantly prepared to introduce more robust UAVs into their operations, while assuring the required level of safety and operational efficiency.
The author is Bruno Picinatti, Senior Consultant at Lufthansa Consulting, and project team leader in Engineering, Operations and Safety Management.
To learn more and discuss how organizations can benefit from Lufthansa Consulting expertise on the evolving UAV market with the next UAVs capable of providing adequate range and payload, please get in touch: Liege.Emmerz@LHConsulting-br.com
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