Mike Winn, the CEO of DroneDeploy, recently spoke with DRONELIFE.com on a variety of drone matters.
We first discussed GoPro’s announcement of the Karma. Winn described the Karma launch as “exciting.” With the Karma, GoPro has created an “interesting product. The bundles they have recreated are part of a system. I think they are going to do well.” Winn cited GoPro’s massive brand recognition. They are a trusted brand whose entrance into the drone industry will expand awareness of drones among the general public.
Winn does not see the Karma as being a product that will be embraced by the commercial market. While the GoPro is an interesting consumer product, the camera tends to have a wide angle view. Its slight fish eye effect does not suit it to enterprise mapping needs, which require a rectilinear aspect.
That said, consumer products matter for two reasons: they provide the enterprise market with technology at an affordable price point, and the fundamental quadcopter form factor design will likely see more rapid improvement than fixed wing drones, which tend to be more expensive, more difficult to use, and cannot compete on image quality. While fixed wing will continue to be used, it is in the quadcopter that we will see more advancements in materials and battery life. Winn cited the DJI Mavic Pro’s top speed of 40MPH as a recent example.
In addition to seeing advancements in quadcopter design, Winn expects to see a steady migration of users to cloud computing, which are becoming increasingly sophisticated with advancements in AI (artificial intelligence). Cloud-based systems are more convenient, especially for specific enterprise markets such as agriculture, construction, and mining, where operators are in the field using laptops and tablets. Recently, DroneDeploy made improvements to its software offering that enable operators in areas with poor or expensive connectivity to increase upload speeds by scaling images.
Winn looks forward to future advancements in drone technology that will:
- allow for the control of multiple drones
- allow drones to fly at night and beyond the line of sight
- enable operators to fly autonomously and land precisely.
And that will all be great, but Winn states, “We do not need to wait for the technology of tomorrow. The technology we have today offers amazing benefits.” He credits the FAA’s recent Part 107, which reduces the hurdles required for commercial enterprises to get drones in the sky, as well as DJI’s market value creation with their suite of drones that appeal to both commercial and recreational users. Small- and medium-sized businesses can now integrate drone technology at an affordable price point and capture measurable data on a repeatable basis. Winn concludes, “This is a big step from zero to one. The markets are accessible to us now with the technology we have today.”
Mike Winn is the CEO of DroneDeploy, a powerful, cloud-based image processing software that is compatible with any drone. You can learn more about DroneDeploy here and start making aerial maps and 3D models for free by signing up here.