Aerial Data Collection and the Need for Humans

Earlier this month I attended DJI’s Airworks conference in Denver and had the pleasure of meeting with some of our key clients and partners to discuss plans for 2018. Optimism abounds. One particular anonymous comment: “It feels like it’s going to pop.”  The “Commercial UAV Industry Trends” panel with participation from DJI, DroneDeploy, PrecisionHawk and others oozed with optimistic sentiment.

Here are my key takeaways from the conference:

  • Edge processing and A.I. are the next big thing to impact aerial data collection.  Edge processing in the field expedites the feedback loop, allowing for (almost) instantaneous decision-making in the field.  Leveraging software to analyze the data we collect aerially can further expedite and improve decision-making, resulting in improved business operations.
  • Augmented Reality is happening.  And sooner than we thought.  By overlaying information on the live stream of drone data capture, we can compare and contrast any visible changes in real-time.  Again, on-demand, actionable data with increased delivery time allows for improved business operations and thus obvious ROI on drones for our target market.
  • Human component and involvement provide context and intelligence that cannot be replaced.  This was the crux of the Airworks event for me.  And perhaps the crux of what I’ve learned in 2017. As we move toward autonomy, A.I., and more software-facilitated work, one thing remains true:  Humans are not going away.  We are critical to the success of the data that will affect business across all industries.

Cheers to DJI for the great conference and to all the speakers and participants who shared their knowledge.