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Drones could bring supply chain disruptions

Posted: 29 Apr 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Drone Analyst  supply chain  drone  FAA  UAV 

Industrial espionage: Who wouldn't like to get a look at the goods moving in and out of a competitor's factory or distribution centre? While big, noisy helicopters are bound to attract attention, tiny drones with cameras could potentially hover and shoot video unnoticed. For example, take a look at this footage taken by a hobbyist's drone of the new Apple campus being built in Cupertino. In the U.S., at least, this sort of activity is legal because the air above a commercial enterprise is usually considered public space.

Warehouse security/theft prevention: On the flip side, drones can be silent watchdogs, monitoring your facilities for theft or disasters. In South Africa, AirShepherd is using drones to catch wildlife poachers in Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park.

Rather than fly their own drones and analyse the data, companies will turn to new breed of businesses that offer "drones as a service." Just starting to emerge, these companies provide the drone and whatever sensors the application requires (cameras, gas detectors, thermal imaging, whatever), fly the drone and gather the data, download the data to their servers, analyse it however the customer wants, and then deliver the information to the customer. With service providers taking on the overhead and the legal liability, if there is any, the use of drones for all sorts of applications could explode.

So next time you hear a buzz from above, look closely. It might just be a drone.

- Tam Harbert
  EBN


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