Brent Stokes craves better photo angles for the docks, seawalls and other waterfront structures his company builds.
“I wanted something higher up and to be able to include the customer’s home in the background,” said Stokes, who’s president of Fort Myers-based Stokes Marine Inc.
Airplane-based aerial photography, though, wasn’t in his budget. After seeing a boatlift manufacturer demonstrate a drone, Stokes bought an unmanned aerial system or UAS about a month ago.
He also was among the 70 or so business people attending Wednesday’s “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles” presentation for The Chamber of Southwest Florida luncheon meeting in downtown Fort Myers.
They heard from four people engaged in applying drone-assisted technologies.
Many of us associate drones with battlefield scenes. They’re actually key players in an emerging industry in which U.S. regulations are lagging behind the technology, said Stephen Myers, founder of Naples-based Angel Eyes UAV.
The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International estimates the value of unmanned aerial systems at $80 billion a year worldwide, Myers said.
For the customer “it’s really about the data, not so much the vehicle,” Myers said.
His company provides consulting services for non-military use of UAVs and also sells related after-market products such as batteries, motors and cameras.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com