The title pulls from the military use of C3 (command, control, and communications), but in this case I’m referring to Insurance, Investment, and Intelligence – the three necessary requirements for a successful drone company. I’ve mentioned the first two issues before (the third goes without saying, and I certainly saw a lot of brainpower at AUVSI!), but a new report brought this to the fore again. I’ll also finish on a lighter note relating to the whale at the top of this article.
Investment: I marvel at how young UAS entrepreneurs will flaunt FAA regulations and knowingly fly outside of the FAA’s dictates. Note that I do not recommend this, but am merely making an observation. At AUVSI, lawyers were a novelty that cost money while on the other hand people with money to invest were rock stars. I discussed my meeting with Westbury group and how people overheard him talking about investment and came up during our lunch (see my post here).
Not only are traditional investment firms in play, but so is the new “Crowdsourcing,” such as that employed by CyPhy Works for their LVL1 (see my post here). An article discusses how more than $10,000,000 has been crowdsource invested in UAS! Investment in UAS has reached critical mass.
Insurance: On to the next prong, I’ve written about UAS insurance in the past, and insurance heavyweight Marsh has issued a new report entitled “Dawning of the Drones The Evolving Risk of Unmanned Aerial Systems.” The report summarizes much of what I had said before – with some nice graphics added in too. They see an economic benefit from UAS integration of over $13 billion in the first three years and over $80 billion by 2025. I don’t doubt it, and I’m sure they want a piece of the action through insuring drones.
And while UAS companies have been willing to flaunt the FAA, which they see as an entity making lofty proclamations but lacking enforcement capability, they want to protect their investment. My wife, who has been working with UAS operators, is finding it easier to place insurance as the underwriters see the profitability of the market and have become educated on the actual risks associated with UAS operations.
Gray Whales: I will finish on a lighter note, highlighting a positive use of UAS, although the US Government is concerned neither with investment nor insurance. We do that first through taxes and the latter is generally taken care of through “self insurance.” I read about how NOAA has been using a hexacopter (the more versatile cousin of the ubiquitous quadcopter) to study Gray Whales. They are assessing how environmental conditions in the Arctic affect the mother’s amount of blubber and whether they will survive the annual migration, during which the mother rarely eats. The article provides more detail and links to other NOAA articles, so I encourage you to read it.