The interest in drone applications in mechanical engineering and other B2B customer industries remains very high. However, few companies still take the step into practice and implement projects. These are the key findings of the second Drone Readyness Analysis, which the VDMA Industrial Drone Solutions working group conducted together with the Chair of Manufacturing Automation and Production Systems (FAPS) at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.
The aim of the Drone Readyness Analysis was to find out how companies in industry and logistics assess the potential of industrial drone applications and how the picture has changed in the past two years compared to the first analysis in 2020. Most of the participants in the survey were machine and plant manufacturers, but there were also companies from the logistics and transport sectors, from the construction industry, from agriculture and forestry and from other B2B sectors.
According to this, the companies have very concrete ideas about which applications are possible for them and which legal framework conditions apply. For 77 % of the participants in the Drone Readiness Analysis 2022, the use of a drone solution in their future corporate strategy is basically conceivable. Only 13 % do not see any application possibilities (in 2020 it was still 40 %).
The greatest potential is seen in applications such as inspection, surveying and general information gathering. In terms of application environment, drones are to be used both indoors and outdoors. The companies currently prefer manual control over automated use. However, more than half of the participants are not currently planning to implement drone projects. Only 6 % have an application in real operation, another 17 % are implementing an initial prototype project or are in pilot operation (12 %).
Economic efficiency not yet given
As obstacles that prevent the implementation of a drone application, the companies named above all a non-apparent economic viability and too few established practical examples. “However, it is precisely these best-practice examples that the respondents would like to see in order to be able to evaluate the possibilities of drone applications for their own company. In our view, this chicken-and-egg problem can only be solved by more courage on the user side,” says Juliane Kluge from the VDMA Industrial Drone Solutions working group.
Picture Source: Kadmy – stock.adobe.com