The most important reason companies used drones in 2022 might not necessarily be the biggest. That’s one takeaway from this year’s Drone Industry Barometer 2022, but together by the folks over at Hamburg, Germany-based drone research firm Drone Industry Insights.
The annual report, which was released today looks at all sorts of drone-related data. It’s all based off of a survey taken in June 2022 by 891 drone industry stakeholders (primarily representatives from small and mid-sized companies) across 81 countries.
And one of the key questions from the Drone Industry Barometer 2022 sought to understand: why do companies adopt drones anyway? Is it saving money or time? Is it improving quality or safety of work?
In past years when Drone Industry Insights asked a similar question, respondents could give each of the reasons one of three flags, “not important, important, and very important.” But many companies simply felt conflicted of how to answer. After all, aren’t all those things — making more money, better quality of work, safer workplaces and more time efficiencies — very important?
That’s why this year’s Drone Industry Barometer 2022 created a bit more nuance when asking the question, this time around allowing respondents to give a 5-point scale rather than a 3-way choice. And here’s exactly what survey respondents said:
The most important reasons companies used drones in 2022: Safety
When looking simply at items flag as very important, it’s improving worker safety that comes out on top. About 41% of responses viewed worker safety as very important. The second place winner for reasons considered “very important” was saving time, which took just 35% of responses, followed by improving quality which took 33% o responses.
It seems as though most drone industry stakeholders perceive safety as the top most important service that drones can provide.
And certainly, there are many examples of how drones improve workplace safety. Look to use cases like roof inspections, where employees would otherwise have to climb up on top of buildings and put themselves at risk. Firefighters mount thermal cameras on drones to detect hotspots in buildings and determine the safest place to enter based on heat and flames.
Ironically, ensuring that drones remain a safe technology is one of the reasons that overall drone industry adoption has been slower than perhaps some expected. Plans to enable drones flying behind visual line of site (BVLOS) have taken years, largely because mitigating any possible safety risk has been at the heart of Federal Aviation Approvals. The same goes for other types of drone flights, such as flying over people. In many cases, drone flights haven’t been conducted because they have been deemed to carry safety risks.
The biggest reasons companies used drones in 2022: Quality
Unsurprisingly safety is important. Money can’t buy another human life or an automatic recovery from injury. But according to Drone Industry Insight’s analysis, safety might not necessarily be the biggest reason companies adopt drones. And hey, it’s not saving costs either.
“When looking at the general shape of the graphs, one could argue that “improve quality” is the top reason while “saving cost” is the least (after all, drones can be expensive despite being worth the money),” according to a memo from Drone Industry Insights. “Improve quality” got consistently high responses all around; 33% said it was very important, 20% called it quite important and 35% called it important. Only 2% rated this reason as not important, which is the lowest score of any possible reason.
For people convinced that humans do better work than robots, well, it seems they can’t compete with drones. This reason indicates that drones are selected because they provide better-quality data than what humans do.
And it’s certainly true. Drones flying a pre-programmed route can get the same exact location date every time. Drones don’t miss a day when gathering time frame data because they went on vacation or called out sick. They don’t misstep and slightly deviate from the course they were supposed to follow. They don’t forget.
Why do you primarily use drones? Is there a difference between your primary reason to bring drones into your business (or to pitch it to another business for use) versus what you considered the most important reason? Leave a comment below!
For more analysis, check out the Drone Industry Barometer 2022 from Drone Industry Insights, which was released today, right here.
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