Drone Industry and the Need of Professionals
The drone sector is called the sunshine sector and is witnessing fast growth. Drones have gone from niche to mainstream in the past few years and have become a critical developing technology in the deep-tech sector. With liberalized Drone rules, new advancements in technologies, government support, and a conducive ecosystem, the sector’s future is promising. In India, the introduction of the new liberalised rules is helping release India’s airspace for drone operations. The government is actively implementing various public initiatives to encourage the use of drones.
India – The Next Drone Hub
India has already decided to emerge as a leader in drone technology. As a matter of fact, this decade has witnessed the widespread usage of Drones in every sphere. There’s not a single industry that drone technology has left untouched. Powerline transmission, mining, railways, roadways, renewable resources, agriculture, disaster management, etc. – the Drones have established their prowess in every sector. According to the reports by Drone Federation India, there are at least 100 drone manufacturers, 200 drone service providers, and over 1 lakh drone pilots in India. And the drone industry is sure to generate around 5-7 lakh job opportunities for people all over the nation.
Growing opportunities in traditional sectors
The drone industry is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, with a projected market size of $63.6 Billion by 2025. This growth is driven by increasing demand for drones in a variety of industries including agriculture, construction, surveying, mapping and public safety. One of the primary benefits of using drones is that they can gather data and perform tasks more quickly and efficiently and safely than traditional methods. For example, drones can survey large areas of land, inspect infrastructures such as bridges and power lines and even deliver packages and medical supplies to remote locations. The use of drones in industries such as agriculture and construction has led to the development of specialized drone technology such a multispectral cameras and LIDAR sensors, that can provide more detailed and accurate data that traditional methods. In addition to technical skills required to operate and maintain drones, professional in the drone industry must also be knowledgeable about regulations and guidelines set forth by the regulatory agencies. This includes understanding airspace restrictions, obtaining necessary permits and certification and following safety protocols to ensure the safe operation of drones. The drone industry offers a wide range of career opportunities from drone pilots and technicians to software developers and data analysts. To prepare for a career in the drone industry, individuals can pursue degrees in related fields such as computer science, engineering or geospatial technology. They can also gain hands-on experience with drone technology by training courses, participating in internships or apprenticeships and obtaining a drone pilot’s license.
Widespread application in emerging sectors
Drone technology is playing a massive part in the mapping sector under projects like Atmanirbhar Bharat and Svanidhi Yojana, both flagship projects undertaken by the Central government. Dropping of food packets, drinking water pouches and medicines with the help of drones in disaster-hit areas has become standard practice. Drone operators are launching start-ups to utilise the growing opportunity for drones. Some of these companies actively work with aggrotech’s and other companies to make handsome profits from their expertise in drone technology.
Emerging career opportunities in Drone world
One of the most critical roles in drone industry is that of a licensed drone pilot. These professionals are responsible for operating the drone safety and effectively, while also complying with regulations and guidelines set forth by the regulatory bodies. A licensed drone pilot must be knowledgeable about airspace restrictions, weather patterns and how to operate the drone’s advanced features to achieve the desired results.
- Drone pilots: As the demand for drone operations increase, companies will need trained professionals who can remotely manage a drone’s flights. Drone pilots play a critical role and require training and certification with sector-specific specialisations. A drone can be hired for cinematography, aerial photography, mapping, modelling and several other uses. Currently, basic drone pilot training is being offered by several DGCA approved training centres. It takes just five days to complete the training. As more industries and businesses use different kinds of drones as per their needs, pilot training will become more advanced. Many more training centres will come up and many industries may train pilots as per their requirements.
- Drone flight planners: This involves determining flight schedule, altitude, weather-related specifications and image or video capture specifications to meet the data goals. Drone flight planners also need to understand the specific use-case, the location of the flight, zone in which the area falls under (red, yellow, green).
- Pilot trainers: Certified trainers are needed to train candidates who aspire to be drone pilots. They play a critical role in ensuring safer flying.
Another essential role in the drone industry is that of a drone technician. As with any advanced technology, drones require regular maintenance and repair to ensure they function correctly, A drone technician must be familiar with the drones’ various components, including the camera, motor and flight controller, to diagnose and fix issue as they arise.
- Design Engineers and Assemblers- The industry needs people who can develop drones based on their expertise in engineering branches such as Aeronautical, Electronics and Electrical, Mechanical, and Robotics Engineering. Additionally, occupations such as manufacturing engineers who build drones and assemblers who assemble them are emerging. The new opportunities in the drone sector are very large in number and have the potential to solve large-scale unemployment and brain drain. Moreover, the opportunities are for people with diverse skills and qualifications – engineers with various specializations, manual assemblers, freelance videographers, robotics system designers, drone pilots, etc.
Other roles within the drone industry include data analysts, software developers and project managers. Data analysts are responsible for interpreting the data collected by drone during its flight
- Drone software engineers: Our country has a huge talent pool of software engineers. We also have many well-established Indian software companies. We have everything it takes to become experts in building software for drone systems and exporting them to other countries. Developing software for flight operations is crucial. It is critical to develop indigenous software to eliminate the risk of cyberattacks. Since the use cases and the concept of leveraging drones for business operations is new and unique, software developers must upskill themselves for drone-related software development. With the latest advancements in communication systems like the 5G network, drones can communicate with various systems, send data, receive instructions, etc. more efficiently. Soon, drones will acquire AI (Artificial Intelligence) abilities. They would analyse collected information and take appropriate action without any human intervention. Such advanced systems need the collective efforts of software engineers, testers, managers, as well as domain experts.
- Drone data specialists: Drone data specialists and GIS engineers coordinate the data processing and analysis of datasets. GIS Professionals help companies interpret images, videos and maps to recognise trends and potential problem areas. The industry will also see a significant rise in demand for sector-wise experts who will convert drone data to actionable insights.
- Data Analyst for Drone Systems: Drones have in them an inbuilt camera, like the one in a smartphone. The camera helps them capture videos or visual data. Some drones are equipped with other sensors to record details like temperature, soil quality, etc. The data is usually sent to the cloud. This data should be processed either manually or using the software. Currently, drones are not capable of interpreting data on their own. Hence, we need efficient data analysts to help us make sense of the data. The analysts analyze data to extract information from it. The type of data and the nature of the information varies according to the purpose behind using the drone. Different businesses and industries need different kinds of information.
- Data Entry operators – Feeding Drone Collected Data into Various Systems -Currently, data received by drones and their sensors are not being analyzed automatically. The collected data must be interpreted. Sometimes the data is enough to make human decisions. But sometimes it has to be fed into other technological systems for data interpretation, analysis, and for taking appropriate action. For example, weather and soil data collected by an agricultural drone can be fed into software designed to help the farmers determine the next action. Data entry operators collect the data and feed it into such software applications to retrieve needed outcomes. Since the data collected will grow manyfold with the wide usage of drones, many such data entry operators will be required.
Sky’s the limit for the drone industry!