While we may all be fascinated by the latest actuator or gimbal, the Connected Drone Application Movement (CDAM), which pertains to applications that can remotely and/or autonomously interact with and/or power single or multiple UAVs.
An example of a CDAM application could be a drone fleet management application. Such an application could interact with the single or multiple drones it controls by querying them for information such as location, battery life left, etc. Such an application could also power single or multiple drones by sending them their flight plans and by send drones real time changes to those flight plans. CDAM applications, therefore, hold the potential to have a greater impact on generating revenue in the drone industry than simply selling drone hardware.
Akin to how in the computer industry money shifted from simply making the computers to making the software that goes on them. Because this movement is focused on the applications themselves and not the hardware, it lowers the bar to entry for entrepreneurs and small businesses seeking to start or boost their own UAV businesses without breaking the bank. It does, however, still carry great promise for mid to high-level drone companies seeking to one-up the competition by creating drone applications which expand and/or provide greater flexibility to the capabilities of the products and/or services they already offer.
To demonstrate the power of these CDAM applications, my drone consulting firm, Ascension Drone Systems, has created a Proof of Concept (POC) application that uses an innovative drone control and monitoring platform, the LATAS Platform, to pull real time location information for a drone and then display the relevant weather information, notably temperature and precipitation conditions, using the received drone’s location information from the LATAS platform so that a drone operator can ensure that the environment he or she is operating a specific UAV in is safe and, if not, to be able to take appropriate action(s): land the UAV, fly the UAV away from that location to somewhere with more hospitable weather, etc.
This application shows the significant potential that CDAM applications can have even when only scratching the surface of the potential of such CDAM applications. My application also showcases the ideal that CDAM applications should be able to be used on multiple platforms.
In this example, my CDAM application uses the LATAS Platform API which, if the unmanned data stream was selected, would receive it through the API from a stand alone LATAS unit merely attached to the body of the drone and not its internal flight controller. This allows anyone with the LATAS unit to run the CDAM application I created on any drone, regardless of its flight controller.
This also shows why CDAM applications are much broader than simply having an Internet Connected Drone because if an application were written for a specific internet connected drone it could be quite difficult, if not impossible, to port that application over to a different model of internet connected drone. Also, for CDAM applications which adhere to the aforementioned ideal, drones could be procured and used by drone companies without the hassle of determining if the CDAM applications they need to use can be run on those drones, giving such companies greater flexibility in what drone systems to purchase and which CDAM applications to use for a given task.
In conclusion, CDAM applications hold great promise for pushing the drone industry into a new era by lowering the bar of entry for entrepreneurs to enter the drone space and by giving businesses large and small the ability to supercharge their current offerings.
Vaibhav Pachalla resides in Charlotte, NC and is the owner of the
Ascension Drone Systems drone consulting company and is eager to help and advise entrepreneurs and commercial entities large and small on creating CDAM applications including offering free consultations to those considering taking the plunge into making their own CDAM applications.