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Review: Commercial Drones 101

The new burgeoning world of drones is an appealing one; skies full of Unmanned Ariel Vehicles (UAVs) delivering parcels, watering crops, even cleaning our atmosphere. There’s a long way to go before we get there, even for the experts, but if you want an easy introduction to this new industry, David Preznuk may just have the book for you.

The Drone Age – A Primer for Individuals and the Enterprise is a short, easy to digest book for anyone wanting to get into the drone industry. It guides the reader through potential use cases and actual case studies around what you need to think about before you acquire a drone.

It touches on legal requirements and provides insight on where current rules fall down. For example how hobbyists can technically become commercial entities if they sell their drone-captured videos/photos. It also provides basic outlines for how to integrate UAVs into your business – whether by acquiring the drones or outsourcing.

What it doesn’t do, however, is provide deep, in-depth arguments or explanations, nor does it tell you why you should get a DJI over a Parrot, or the specifics of maintaining, piloting or managing drones and the data they consumes. However, it offers a good starting point for curious newcomers who want to know how it could affect their business, or perhaps want to dig deeper behind the headlines.

Preznuk – founder of drone services company Aerial Strategies and a qualified pilot for over 20 years – is well versed in all things drones, and strikes a very optimistic tone throughout. “The Genie is out of the bottle and will not and cannot go back in,” he writes, showing excitement for the FAA’s potential rule changes that could come in as soon as April, and discussing pie in the sky use cases where swarms of autonomous drones fly around cleaning the atmosphere of pollution or reducing the damage from oil spills.

In The Drone Age there’s no question of if drones will become a major industry, but merely when. Preznuk uses his own experiences regularly – discussing how the industry’s rapid development means his new platforms are far easier to fly, manage, and process compared to a few years ago. And while definitely positive, he manages to avoid blind optimism.

Preznuk highlights the difficulty of actually flying the things – even with the computer-aids available today – as well as flaws in the current legal frameworks. For example, real estate is a popular segment for early commercial drone adoption, and if just 10% of the 1million+ real estate agents within the US jump aboard the UAV bandwagon, that’s 100,000 new drones to register, possibly overloading the system. And if only 1% of those have accidents – a real possibility given the chronic lack of qualified and talented pilots – that’s 1,000 new flight incidents a year the FAA will be required to investigate. More stress on the system, and more bad headlines the industry and lawmakers would want to avoid.

For anyone already flying high around the world of UAVs, The Drone Age probably offers little you won’t have heard before. But for anyone or any organisation even thinking about how drones could impact or benefit their business, Preznuk’s book provides an easy to follow and informative starting point.

 

Read our interview with the author here. 

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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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