commercial-drones

Starting a commercial drone program     

How do you get started with commercial drones?

What are Commercial Drones?

Commercial drone use in the United States is growing faster than anticipated, with this number expected to double by 2024.

Recently-released figures from the FAA show that the number of registered operators utilizing Unmanned Aircraft Systems for commercial purposes is pushing half a million!

But what exactly are commercial drones? 

There is not a set definition for what makes a drone 'commercial' - simply that they're better suited to use in enterprise or commercial environments.

Some drones that have been aimed at consumers have found their way into commercial use, simply because a use has been found for them!

However - commercial drones generally differ from "hobbyist" or consumer drones in a number of ways:

  • More accurate data collection
  • Support for multiple payloads
  • Ability to carry heavier payloads
  • Support for thermal, zoom, NDVI or other specialist sensors
  • Higher levels of redundancy

All of these improvements generally make these drones better for use by businesses and enterprises, helping them save money, increase efficiency, and enhance safety.

"By using drones, we’ve created a much more efficient process. We can literally take weeks out of the schedule, our projects are much higher quality than before, and they’re safer."

Jim Gorrie, CEO Brasfield & Gorrie, Birmingham, Alabama.
 

What are Commercial Drones Used for?

Commercial drones uses vary across a wide array of enterprise environments - improving productivity, revenue and levels of safety.

Just scratching the surface of business drone use-cases we can say that drones are used for:

  • Agriculture  - Crop surveying, plant health studies, deforestation studies, irrigation planning.
  • Media - Aerial filming, aerial photography, creative videography.
  • Policing - Securing crime scenes, identifying and tracking criminals, crowd management, accident reconstruction.
  • Firefighting - Gathering data on fires, assessing building damage, directing fire crews appropriately.
  • Oil and Gas Industry - Inspection and safety monitoring on rigs, assessments without stopping production, temperature monitoring, pipeline inspection.
  • Utility Businesses  - Pylon inspection, power plant monitoring, plant construction site surveys, identifying risks on-site.
  • Construction  - Asset management, site surveys, stockpile measurement, roof inspection, site planning.
  • Surveying - Create 3D models, complete volumetric calculations, carry out visual inspections and collect fast and accurate data.

DJI have been pioneers in the commercial drone industry, putting reasonably priced professional-quality drones to work all around the world. HELIGUY.com™ is a leading and trusted DJI partner.

If you're unsure about what drone you need - or what software would best improve efficiency in your drone business, simply click the "Book a Consultation" button below to talk to the team.

How Much are Commercial Drones?

Commercial drones are generally more expensive than their consumer-facing counterparts.

If you'd like to start a drone program for your business, the lower-end commercial drones, such as the Mavic 2 Enterprise can be purchased from as little as $2,500.

However, the range of drones, cameras, sensors, controllers and software available makes it difficult to give an exact answer on how much a commercial drone will cost - especially if it's part of a wider drone program.

For expert advice on the equipment and software you'll need to make your drone business a success, use the buttons below to contact HELIGUY.com™.

What Constitutes Commercial Drone Use?

Different nations around the world have different definitions of commercial drone use.

However, it's widely defined as any professional work undertaken using a drone.

For the purposes of the content on this page, we're defining commercial drone use as anything that's used by a commercial organization to make money, save time or increase efficiency.

Taking aerial shots of your family party, or documenting your personal travels using a drone are examples of "personal" drone use.

Please ensure that you're flying within the rules and regulations applicable to the state or region you're flying your drone in at all times, whether you're operating commercially or not.

More Frequently Asked Questions

How fast are commercial drones?

Depending on the size of the drone in question, the configuration of cameras it's flying with and its intended use-case, commercial drones can fly up to 51 miles per hour!

How big are commercial drones?

Depending on the use-case, commercial drones can reach up to 170 cm wide and 73 cm tall in the DJI range.

As the drone industry advances however, drones are getting smaller and smaller.

DJI's latest flagship drone, the Matrice 300 RTK, is only 81 cm wide and 43 cm tall, but can carry three payloads at one time.

How far can commercial drones fly?

Some of the drones in the DJI Enterprise range have an incredible 15km range - making them the best in the industry.

Of course - HELIGUY.com™ advise you to fly within the legal range of the jurisdiction you're flying within.

How high can commercial drones fly?

As high as 7km.

HELIGUY.com™ advise you to fly within the legal limits of the jurisdiction you're flying within.

How long can commercial drones fly for?

Flight times of commercial drones is highly dependent on the configuration used.

The more advanced the sensors on the drone, the heavier it tends to become, reducing flight time.

However, the latest commercial drones in the DJI range have a huge flight time of 55 minutes. Nearly an hour in the air!

Transform your missions

Harness the power of drones.

Why you need to start a commercial drone program

Commercial drones have become a powerful tool for business - increasing efficiency, enhancing safety, and reducing costs. 

Drones gather data quickly and accurately, in real-time, from hard to reach and dangerous places. This makes a huge difference when it comes to managing budgets, controling risks, and influencing outcomes.

As a result, they are increasingly being put to work in commercial and government applications, benefiting first responders and public safety, agriculture, infrastructure, construction, surveying, energy, and media and film.  

HELIGUY.com™, one of the world's leading drone suppliers, offers expert support and access to a vast inventory of drones and payloads to companies and organizations wanting to start or scale their enterprise solutions.

We are trusted by some of the world's largest and most prestigious businesses to fulfil their drone requirements and bolster their drone programs.

"Most of the projects we work on, we're using a drone as a tool as part of a suite of tools that serve a function within an individual project. We've been able to consistently validate the drone data against survey data and create very high-resolution maps at an incredibly large scale."

Brandon Del Priore, Chief Technical Officer, C2 Group, San Diego.

Save Time And Money

Real-time drone data yielded 75% cost savings for Chasco Constructors on a $29m project.

Gain The Competitive Edge

Drones have transformed the way that businesses work, increasing efficiencies and aiding rapid and accurate data capture.

Drones can complete a task far quicker than manual methods and are less labour-intensive.

A White Paper produced by Measure - which has offices around the United States, including Washington and New York - stated that a drone can inspect one wind turbine in 15 to 30 minutes - reducing man-hours and turbine downtime for maintenance checks by over 75%.

Meanwhile, Michael Lambert, VDC Manager at Texas-based Chasco Constructors, said that real-time drone data yielded 75% cost savings, taking two hours on a job which would have taken surveyors about eight hours using traditional methods.

If you are looking for a competitive advantage, then drones should be a critical tool in your tool belt.

Drones cut inspection times from days to hours

Drones featuring thermal imaging payloads allow operators to perform a full solar farm operation in a matter of hours, compared to days using manual methods. They increase data quantity and quality and reduce costs.

 

Eduardo Rodriguez, DJI.

keep your workforce safe

Drones do the dangerous work for you

How Can Drones Improve Safety?

Drones are a key tool for keeping your team safe and transforming workplace safety.

No longer do you need to climb over stockpiles to gather quantities or climb ladders to access rooftops because drones do this for you.

Firefighting

Thermal cameras can see through smoke and detect hot spots. This real-time awareness helps an effective response and keeps crews safe.

Collect Vital Situational Awareness - Safely

“Drones add value to the vital work that firefighters and search and rescue people do. This technology can keep firefighters and police officers from losing their lives.”
 
Commander Tom Madigan, Alameda County Sheriff’s Office

Construction

Drones make scrambling over stockpiles or walking across dangerous job sites a thing of the past.

Take People Out Of Dangerous Situations

"Drones help unbelievably with health and safety, taking people out of dangerous situations. They are fantastic tools, helping us to get out to places where boots on the ground wouldn’t necessarily be the best option."

 

Wayne Hughes, Balfour Beatty

Inspection

Forget climbing ladders or scaling roof tops - a drone can collect key data for you, all while you are safe on the ground.

Remove The Need To Work Up High

"There are many buildings and structures that are difficult to gain access to. Using a drone can help minimize costs and keep individuals safely away from sources of danger during the inspection process."
 
Roof Asset Management Inc, Philadelphia

A billion dollar industry

Drone use is on the rise around the world.

The potential is huge.

Thanks to the huge benefits which drones bring, unmanned aircraft are becoming an increasingly familiar tool around the world.

Indeed, the rising use of drones in business and public services is already delivering significant benefits for the economy and society.

But this is just the start. The potential is huge.

$13bn

spend on drones forecast between 2016-2020 by businesses and civil government

$4.4bn

has been invested in drone companies worldwide since 2012

Over 50%

of strategic drone partnerships involve companies in the U.S

100,000

 jobs estimated to be created through drones in the US alone by 2025              

Global Drone Market To Reach $42 billion by 2025

According to the Drone Market Report 2020-2025, compiled by German-based market research and analytics company Drone Industry Insights, the global drone market will grow from $22.5 billion in 2020 to more than $42.8 billion in 2025 - at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 13.8%.

These figures show that both the current and future demand for drones is huge and the report predicts that commercial drone sales will double over the next five years.

The predictions are particularly encouraging as the study was conducted after the coronavirus outbreak and takes into account all the different market dynamic shifts that the global health crisis triggered.

The data shows that Asia is leading the way; worth $8.62 billion and climbing to $17.89 billion by 2025. North America is next ($6.89 billion in 2020, rising to $11.82 billion by 2025), followed by Europe ($5.19 billion in 2020, climbing to $9.86 billion by 2025).

Other key findings in the report show:

  • Inspection continues to be the leading application method of drones, but the greatest growth is expected in drone deliveries.
  • Service is and will continue to be the largest segment of the drone industry, but software is the fastest growing.
  • Energy is and will continue to be the largest industry in the drone market, but transportation and warehousing is growing the fastest and will be the second-largest market by 2025.
Global Drone Market to Expand

Training - FAA part 107

What commercial operators need to know.

How To Obtain An FAA Drone License

If you are flying a drone for commercial purposes in the U.S, then you will need an FAA drone license by sitting the FAA Part 107 test.

This applies to all commercial operators who are flying a drone weighing less than 55 pounds. If you are planning on using a heavier UAS, you will need to apply to the FAA for a special exemption.
 
.To receive the all-important drone license to fly commercially, you must do the following:
  1. Register online for an FAA Tracking Number (FTN) using the FAA’s IACRA system.
  2. Create an account in the FAA’s test scheduling system using your FTN.
  3. Take the Airman Knowledge Test, known as the Part 107 test. This can be completed at test centers around the U.S. The pass mark is 70% and you have two hours to sit the 60-question, multiple-choice exam.
  4. Link your test results to your IACRA Application.
  5. Submit your application for a Remote Pilot Certification using the IACRA system.
  6. Pass a TSA background check and receive your Remote Pilot Certificate.
  7. You now have your drone license and have become an FAA Part 107 certified drone pilot.
 
Once you have your drone license, you must take your Remote Pilot Certificate and current copy of your Airman Knowledge Test results with you during every flight. To maintain a valid certificate, certified commercial drone pilots need to pass an aeronautical knowledge test every 24 months.
 

Commercial pilots must also know that drones weighing between 0.55lbs and 55lbs must be registered with the FAA. Registration costs $5 and is valid for 3 years. Operators with drones exceeding this weight must register through the paper (N-number) registration process. 

There are some exemptions to the rule. Commercial drone pilots with a manned pilot certificate issued under 14 CFR Part 61, who have completed a flight review within the previous 24 months, do not need to obtain a Part 107 drone license.

Also, any drone pilots with a Section 333 Exemption can continue to operate under its provisions throughout the 24-month licensing window. 
 

START and Scale your Drone Fleet with HELIGUY.com™

Comprehensive support to help your drone program thrive

With more than 10 years of experience in the industry, HELIGUY.com™ is perfectly placed to help you start or scale your drone program.

HELIGUY.com™ has become a trusted UAS supplier to companies around the world, supporting organizations and enterprises across a range of sectors, including public safety, surveying, inspection, construction, government, and media/film.

 

HELIGUY.com™ offers a number of packages to help you dynamically alter to the size of your fleet, quickly, easily, and at a surprisingly low price.

Respected DJI Partner 

HELIGUY.com™ works with partners around the world to ensure our clients can access the best and most suitable commercial UAV technology for their needs.

The most popular type of drones we supply to commercial users are made by DJI. We stock the expansive DJI ecosystem of drones, sensors, and auxiliaries, and can provide free consultancy on these drones and how they will benefit your organization.  

Specializing in DJI drone technology is beneficial for our clients, especially as DJI leads the way in the U.S, with a market share of more than 76%.

DJI figures show that there has been a 73% increase in US public safety agencies using drones from 2018-2020, while data released this year from the third edition of the Public Safety Drones report, compiled by the Center for the Study of the Drone At Bard College, in New York, shows that DJI drones are the most popular among public safety teams.

 

HELIGUY.COM™ Commercial Drone Warranty 

Have Peace Of Mind On Your Next Flight

HELIGUY.com™ offers a full warranty on all our DJI drones, accessories, and batteries.

DJI drones and accessories are covered for one year on the HELIGUY.com™ warranty, while DJI batteries are covered for three months.

For more information about the HELIGUY.com™ warranty, including examples of when your equipment is and is not covered, click here.

Fleet and Pilot management - software 

Optimize your missions.

Automated flights and better communication

Sophisticated drone fleet and pilot management software helps you optimize your missions, giving more implementation control and data security assurances.

Conduct automated flights, manage flight data on the cloud, and collaborate across projects to run your drone program efficiently, with a higher level of reliability and accuracy, optimizing workflows in the process.

Easily visible data can be shared with your project team, improving communication, and pilots and drones can be managed through the creation of teams, making missions more coordinated.

Drone pilot and fleet management software is an essential tool, helping to streamline missions and enabling enterprise organizations to scale and manage their commercial drone programs, while laying the technical foundations for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) and nighttime operations.

As one of the world's leading drone suppliers, HELIGUY.com™ can help you integrate software packages into your operations.

DJI FlightHub

DJI FlightHub Software

Manage your entire drone operation using DJI FlightHub, including the Enterprise edition.

If you're operating multiple drones and pilots, while juggling multiple operations, DJI FlightHub will give you a live, complete picture of your entire drone program.

Some of the key features of FlightHub include:

  • Real-time communication with pilots during live operations.
  • Easy flight log recording and management.
  • Manage equipment, pilots and individual flights across your whole organization.
  • Simple to use mission planning tools to increase efficiency.
  • Seamlessly transfer images and video from pilots to FlightHub to centralize data.
  • Manage firmware versions and firmware updates on all DJI equipment from one central app

DJI GS Pro

DJI Ground Station Pro

Enhance your drone operations with DJI Ground Station Pro (DJI GS Pro), an iPad app.

GS Pro allows you to conduct automated flight missions, manage flight data on the cloud, and collaborate across projects to run your drone program efficiently.

Some of the key features of GS Pro include:

  • Back up flight data in the cloud.
  • Coordinate teams and designate roles for mission simplicity and clarity.
  • Track individual projects and streamline the project management process.
  • Generate efficient flight paths and upload collected data into reconstruction software to generate 3D maps. 
  • Virtual Fence defines a specific area of flight - useful when some areas of a site are no-fly zones.

Other Drone Software Packages To Help You

There are a range of software packages available to transform your drone missions. Here are some of the best:

 

DJI Terra:

DJI Terra is a 3D modeling software, letting you plan missions, centralize data, create maps and analyze data within a single platform. Key Features:

  • Plan your drone missions ahead of time in the app.
  • Collect and centralize your drone data in a single software.
  • Create 2D or 3D maps within Terra.
  • Analyze the data your drone collects, measuring coordinates, distances, areas and volumes.
  • New electricity license available, with optimizations made for 3D powerline reconstructions.

DroneDeploy:

DroneDeploy is a comprehensive mapping tool.  Key Features:

  • Automate mapping and photo flights for DJI drones using DroneDeploy’s mobile app.
  • Create accurate, high-resolution maps, reports and 3D models, as well as real-time 2D live maps for immediate analysis.
  • Enable teams with unlimited cloud image processing and single-click collaboration, export and integration options.

Pix4D:

Another great tool for enterprise customers is Pix4D – enabling optimal 3D mapping and 3D modeling data. Key Features:

  • Generate high-quality 2D and 3D data through the use of aerial imagery.
  • Select the perfect flight plan for your project and monitor the image acquisition in real-time.
  • Take advantage of add-ons, such as Pix4Dmapper, Pix4Dmodel, Pix4Dbim, and Pix4Dfields.
 

Our Clients and partnerships...

Here are a selection of the calibre of clients HELIGUY.com™ works with.

Fast and efficient delivery with our Logistics Network

We've got you covered.

HELIGUY.com™ - The Logistical Experts

Running a commercial drone program can be demanding and unpredictable - sometimes you need that vital piece of equipment at short notice and up in the air as quickly as possible.

HELIGUY.com™ vast inventory of hardware is housed in warehouses in Dallas, Texas, United States, and in the United Kingdom, ensuring we can fulfil your request efficiently and dynamically - tackling any logistical nightmares and solving drone supply issues your business might face.

HELIGUY.com™ is IATA-certified and has a track record of delivering across the world, enabling commercial drone programs to flourish.

And no matter where you are in the world, our experienced and dedicated enterprise team is only a phone call, video conference, or email away to offer invaluable consultancy and support.

Strategically-positioned Warehouses 

As one of the world's leading drone suppliers, HELIGUY.com™ has a base on each side of the Atlantic to cater for deliveries across the globe.

Our US base is housed in Dallas, Texas, while our UK facility, with in-house technical department and R&D lab, is located in the north of England. 

Heliguy's strategically-positioned warehouses help to streamline drone delivery, ensuring fast and effective supply, wherever you may be.

Being located on each side of the world allows HELIGUY.com™ to connect USA with Europe, enabling our team to cross-pollinate skills and expertise, sharing solutions, ideas, and best practices to benefit our customers and optimize their drone programs.

"The support from Heliguy has been unquestionable. The importance and the difference we have found with Heliguy is the level of service. When it comes to stock, Heliguy can fulfil the short-notice demand. Every time, Heliguy has understood the urgency of our request and even though we are a stretch of water away, Heliguy can still guarantee next-day delivery and that makes such a difference to us, knowing what we can get as soon as we need it. It is the difference between us doing a very good job and us doing an even better job. The bottom line really is that degree of service, and every time Heliguy has come up trumps." 

Phil Crothers, Pivotal

IATA Trained - For All Your Shipping Needs

Heliguy has IATA certified training which allows us to globally ship high power drone batteries by air.

This important certification is essential for logistics, helping you receive your crucial equipment in the fastest way possible.

High-capacity batteries are of paramount importance to a commercial drone program - extending flight times to increase efficiency and reduce downtime. 

Heliguy Logistics Help

Large-Scale Tender Products and Government Contracts

Uncompromising support on multi-million-dollar contracts

HELIGUY.com™ has successfully secured a place on multi-million-dollar tender deals, thanks to our standing in the drone industry and the trust that major companies have in us.

We have repaid that faith by offering uncompromising support, enabling the growth of enterprise drone programs across the industry, from critical infrastructure to public safety - having won a place on a major nationwide contract with Network Rail and a spot on an agreement with YPO, in conjunction with the Home Office, to assist public sector organizations, primarily first responders.

Our experience of fulfilling these tender obligations, coupled with our renowned support of enterprise drone programs around the world, ensures that we are best placed to support any tender requirement.

"Heliguy - professional and hard-working"

“This contract award with Network Rail is the largest of its type in the UK, and this win is a great signal for DJI, its partner Heliguy in the UK and the enterprise drone industry. The hard work of our partner Heliguy has paid off thanks to their professionalism and the reliability of the offer proposed in terms of hardware and software powered by DJI technologies and serviced by Heliguy.”

 

Sunny Liao, Director of Enterprise at DJI, praises Heliguy after the Network Rail contract win.

Drone Finance and payment options

0% interest on professional drones, gimbals, and other commercial accessories.

PayPal Credit

Spread the cost of your drone purchase using PayPal Credit.

with 0% interest for 4 months on all purchases of £99 or more, it’s the perfect way to pay for larger online purchases.

You can use this offer again and again on every purchase over £99.

Utilizing PayPal Credit allows a speedy checkout, and instant access to shop once you have signed up.

Drone Parachutes

Enhance flight safety with HELIGUY.com™ and ParaZero.

To enhance flight safety, a number of DJI’s commercial drone range can be integrated with ParaZero SafeAir parachutes.

If a critical failure occurs during flight, the parachute will automatically deploy, preventing the drone from crashing back to the ground if there is an error during flight.

Cases of drones falling from the sky are very rare, but the parachute is a simple mitigation and provides reassurance if an unexpected emergency does occur, especially on missions which involve flying over people or property.

The deployment system has been extensively tested by both ParaZero and third-party organizations to give drone operators real peace of mind.

ParaZero SafeAir parachutes are available for:

  • Mavic 2 Series including the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual and Zoom (excluding modular accessories)
  • Phantom 4 (excluding RTK)
  • M200 Series (M200, M210, and M210, and M200, M210, M210 RTK V2)
  • Matrice 600 (including D-RTK model)
  • Mavic Pro Series

Drone Parachute FAQs

How Does The ParaZero SafeAir Parachute Work?

The lightweight recovery system independently monitors key flight parameters of the drone’s avionic systems. The drone flight profile is collected and monitored for anomalies.

When critical failures are identified the mechanical flight termination system automatically cuts power to the drone’s rotors, preventing entanglement with the rotors and mitigating the risk of laceration injuries in the process. The batteries are disconnected once an unexpected descent begins, but remain with the drone.

The patented parachute deployment mechanism then opens the chute to full canopy in a fraction of a second. This controls the descent, enabling safe flight over people, even at low altitudes, and a safe landing of the drone. An audible alarm also sounds on the Matrice (M200 Series/M600 Pro) parachutes to draw attention for those on the ground.

Can I tell how the flight failure occurred?

Yes you can. Collected data is stored in a black box and can be used for post-deployment analysis.

Why Should You Use A ParaZero SafeAir Parachute?

Deploying a parachute in the event of flight failure has numerous benefits. A slower descent helps to minimise damage to property and reduces the risk to members of the public. It also gives greater time to react to an unexpected drone failure.

This is particularly useful and reassuring for the emergency services, who can acquire special exemptions to fly over buildings and people.

A slower, more cushioned landing also means less damage to the drone itself – reducing the cost of subsequent repairs.

What altitude does the parachute work at?

The ParaZero SafeAir parachutes work at both low and high altitude, ensuring a safe descent whatever the operation.

How Long Does It Take to Install the System?

The system can be integrated with your drone in about 10 to 15 minutes.

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