Large market value and a broad spectrum of industries, ranging from agriculture, mining, transport and logistics to filmmaking, are being disrupted by remotely piloted aircraft, otherwise known as drones, according to professional services firm PwC.
According to its latest report on the application of drone-powered solutions, PwC states that the addressable market value of drone-powered solutions is estimated at over $127-billion – a value representative of current business services and labour that are likely to be replaced in the near future by drone-powered solutions. The industry with the best prospects for drone applications is infrastructure, with a total addressable market value of about $45.2-billion.
With drones poised to have an impact on the business operations of companies in a broad range of industry sectors, PwC has established a global centre of excellence that uses drones and advanced data analytics to help clients solve their business challenges.
PwC Africa capital projects and infrastructure leader Andrew Shaw says PwC is currently in discussion with several major South African companies from a wide range of industries on how they can use drones to improve their business processes.
Infrastructure Delivery Using the analytical data collection ability of drones allows companies with complex infrastructure delivery and maintenance requirements to accurately assess the quality of their assets either under construction or already in operation. “There is no doubt that drones are making the transition from a novelty item to an indispensable business tool and that the analytical capabilities they provide are evolving very rapidly and will change the nature of certain industries.”
Driven by the demand to offer new insights into the growing industry, PwC made a decision four years ago to invest in the PwC Global Centre of Excellence, called Drone Powered Solutions, offering advanced image analytics and drone-powered solutions.
Through this new service, PwC experts combine data acquisition by drones, or, if needed, other aerial data sources with advanced image analytics, photogrammetry and machine learning. This through-data fusion enables PwC to accurately measure and evaluate, in less than 1 cm detail, all aspects of objects in the field.
Drone-powered solutions are best suited to sectors that require both mobility and high-quality data. Specifically, businesses that manage assets dispersed over large areas have a long history of issues that new drone-powered solutions can address.
PwC global drone-powered solutions head partner Michal Mazur says that drones and the data they provide are a game changer over the entire life cycle of a transport and energy infrastructure investment. “The provision of real-time, accurate and comparable three-dimensional modelling data is crucial during the preconstruction, construction and operational phases of an investment project, and all of this data can be acquired by intelligent and cost-effective drone-powered solutions.”