Drones in action


Jason Turner

Display of a capture drone

The commercial use of drones has been on the incline over the past few years. Romeo Durscher, Director of Public Safety Integration at DJI (a leading company in drones and drone accessories), says there are currently 10 times more cameras on drones than on manned aircraft. With this increase of demand, HCC students may be able to turn a hobby into a career or a way to enhance their résumés.

Many people may be aware of some jobs involving drones. Drones are used in television and motion pictures to get shots people easier than with helicopters or cranes.

Skip Frederick of Hollywood Drones says drones should be used to get shots from 50-150 ft above the action. Lower shots should be done with cranes, while higher shots should be done from helicopters. He has recently done work on an environmental documentary with Al Gore where drones were used to film places deemed unsafe for people.

Drones are also used prominently in news broadcasts.

According to Douglas Spotted Eagle, a drone consultant and photographer based in Las Vegas, Nev., drone pilots “personalize the news.”

There are, however, many of careers involving drone use. Drones are used in fields as diverse as artificial intelligence, construction, agriculture and public safety.

The Department of Transportation says there are many jobs involving drones that did not exist even five years ago. One such job is when the Chocktaw Tribe recently used drones to deliver bait for feral hogs that were destroying their crops.

Drones are also used active shooters for safety reasons. There are ongoing studies to see if drones around active shooters cause people to want to investigate the situation more or less.

GEM Systems, Inc. uses drones with magnetometers, radiometers and magnetic sensors for applications in geophysics. They focus on mineral exploration, aerial mapping, archeology and unexploded ordinances.

Shawn Kovacs of GEM says their systems have the highest sensitivity of any radiometers currently on the market.

Real estate agents and insurance adjusters also use drones to make their jobs easier. They can get photos of properties that show more detail than used to be possible. Drones are used in surveying land for future construction sites more efficiently than people holding cameras. The Minn. Department of Transportation Bridge Office uses drones for bridge inspections.

Uzayr Siddiqui is the founder and CEO of Drone Entry. Drone Entry is a web-based platform for drone pilots to showcase their skills and for employers to recruit people. Siddiqui’s education is in Geomatics, which is one of the majors offered at UF in Plant City.

While many current careers with drones are focused on people who use drones exclusively, the job market is changing. Spotted Eagle says that people in other industries who now hire out will learn to use drones as part of their jobs. He says the reason is that current pilots are not experts in real estate, construction, law enforcement or other jobs. Those who are experts will learn to fly drones to cut costs and to get the best footage for their purposes.

When giving career advice, Alyce Bofferding of Skyward, a Verizon Company, says, “Take internships, even if they aren’t in your direct field of study.”

Amateur Drone pilots can easily parlay their hobby into part of their jobs, while current students should definitely include this as a skill.