Remote Possibility: Drones and the Environment

by Inga Yandell

Building on our list of the 40 Best Drone Business Ideas 2018 by Oliver McClintock—we explore the remote environments which drones make accessible.

Part Two: Drones and the Environment

From disaster relief to environmental surveillance, farms to forests—drones facilitate access on a much broader scale. Piercing the veil of impenetrable regions with aerial precision, drones allow us to remotely service those in need of medical or survival rations, to span vast ecosystems faster and with more freedom, monitoring wildlife populations and migrations or scouting for signs of climate change (literally giving us a heads-up).

15. Drone Search and Rescue

One of the best applications for aerial technology is the benefit of searching for people that might be lost or hurt. It is far more useful to search for someone uses a drone that has thermal imaging than it is to search for them on the ground at night. It might not be the place to make the most money, but it is possible that some related drone business ideas include making add-on hardware for rescue drones or creating special mapping software for unique missions. Take for example DJI’s partnership with several entrepreneurs who invented a 3D printed utility attachment and a self-releasing delivery capsule to help those in need.

16. Emergency Deliveries

Many companies are looking at delivering small, time-sensitive packages to users via drone. UPS tested a drone to deliver emergency supplies to a coastal children’s camp in Maine this summer. A government partnership in Rwanda delivered blood and emergency supplies via parachute and are now bringing that technology to the US. Those searching for drone business ideas could develop self- release packaging or identify critical delivery services in their local area.

17. News Reporting

UAV pilots have been recording and finding newsworthy stories since they could first fly with cameras. Now outlets like CNN are starting their operations like “CNN AIR” to help tell stories in a more documentary-like way. Local drone pilots could link up with news outlets to help provide coverage of events when the media outlet does not have the time or resources to start their news drone division. Drones like the Phantom 4 are enabling anyone to become a newscaster! They are used all over the country to document local happenings to be shared on Youtube and beyond.

18. Environmental Monitoring and Compliance

Drones can be used to bring new perspectives to protecting our environment. Different departments across the US are using aerial views to monitor everything from coastline erosion to animal species and populations. UAV technology can be a discrete, non-invasive way to inspect vast areas of forest, coastline, and wetlands cost- effectively. New drones from companies like Sensefly are providing flexible ways for drone pilots to protect the world we live in. For those who are passionate about helping protect nature in the US, related drone business ideas could include contracting out with a local environmental department or selling aerial data to these organizations.

19. Protect and Conserve WIldlife

Poachers threaten many endangered animal populations across the globe. These poachers target animals such as elephants and rhinos due to their valuable tusks and horns which can be sold in markets across Asia. Several organizations are using the power of quadcopters to fight back against poachers. Teams like Air Shepherd are working with drones to identify poachers and work with local law enforcement to put an end to this illegal activity.

20. Monitor Natural Disasters

Monitoring natural disasters can be another excellent drone business idea for entrepreneurial remote pilots. By working closely with local law enforcement agencies, pilots could contract out as a third party to provide live aerial images and video of disasters happening in real time. It is essential to note the reckless operation of drones in disaster areas like wildfire fighting can put people’s lives in real danger. However, if appropriately coordinated, drones can provide an excellent view of regions affected by natural disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis, and tornadoes. It can help first responders allocate their resources more effectively to help save lives.

21. Meteorology and Weather

Drones are helping weather stations and storm reporters alike get an edge on severe weather. From atmospheric sampling data from multiple sources to taking a real-time video about storms, drones can help us get an edge on mother nature. Those looking for weather-related drone business ideas could partner with a storm chasing team to provide intelligence.

23. Inspect Water Management and Irrigation

Water usage is critical to farmers, especially in areas like the west coast of the US where drought has been taking place for years. For managing water resources more effectively, farmers are now turning to drones to tackle irrigation inefficiencies. Farmers have to deal with potential losses from complicated underground irrigation systems and now can see where their crops either are or are not being watered. Using UAV technology to help improve irrigation also makes a ton of sense for farmers as the areas they manage are often too large to a survey by foot or ground-based vehicle efficiently.

24. Monitor Crop Health for Precision Agriculture

Massive advances in UAV software have enabled farmers to understand their crop health from the skies better. Many drone companies have entered the space to offer a customized drone and software package to increase yields. AgEagle, SenseFly eBee, and PrecisionHawk all target farmers looking to capitalize on the productivity gains that can be had from drone data. UAV business owners could buy one of these drones, master the data analytics, and sell service packages to farmers who do not want to learn or invest in the software themselves.

Author Bio

Oliver McClintock is a tech enthusiast, and his main interests are drones and everything related to aviation gadgets. He shares his experience, product reviews, buyer’s guides, and how-to content on his site called MyDearDrone. It is awarded as one of the top 10 drone blogs of 2018 and a proud supporter of various high-profile events related to tech, aviation, drones, government, security & defense, military, etc.

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Inga Yandell
Explorer and photo-journalist, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide educational resources and a platform for science exploration.
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