Budgets for local authorities are always stretched – which is why drones might seem like a crazy spend. However, the long-term benefits and cost savings a drone will have for any public sector organisation seriously outweighs the initial spend.
The point of having a drone for tasks within the local authority is that it’s a great support tool for a number of different duties performed by the council. It’s not there to replace staff, but instead speed up processes so that more can be done in less time.
Consider The Options: What Drone Should Local Authorities Use?
There are so many different elements to local authority tasks that it’s impossible for one drone to do everything – if you want it done right! Having an arsenal of unmanned aerial vehicles will have a serious impact across the district, as more tasks can be carried out more safely, more quickly, and provide more data for future improvements.
For example, you might want to use a drone for LiDAR scanning of local waste management site, but also use one for traffic management and emergency service support.
Newsflash: getting the right tool for the job will make your life much easier and your budgets breathe a sigh of relief.
While you CAN get a drone that does both, it’s best to get the right one for each task. A drone equipped with specialist LiDAR technology can be used for so many things – such as infrastructure planning and engineering checks for public buildings, power lines, and roads – while another with a high definition RGB camera covers plenty of other, very different, tasks.
Capital Outlay Versus Long-Term Savings
Sure, you might think you’ll be saving money by buying a drone that has an RGB camera, LiDAR technology, AND thermal imaging. It’s possible.
However, think of it like this: one drone means one task at a time. Local authorities are not really going to make the most of time and subsequent cost savings by only having one multi-tasking drone on hand.
A traffic management drone, for example, is likely to be required on a regular basis especially on weekday rush hours. This is because the eye-in-the-sky can help real-time traffic management such as diversions. It’ll also help reduce access time in the case of an incident, as a clear and quick route can easily be plotted using the sky-high drone.
On the other hand, the same high definition RGB camera on your traffic management drone could come in handy for building inspections, getting right up into the hazardous roof areas or other hard-to-reach or dangerous places. Staff can remain safely on the ground to monitor inspection footage, and move in to the exact point of problem areas without the manual inspection required first. This is a much faster, and safer, way of conducting essential inspections and repairs.
But if your drone is out managing the traffic, how can it also be speeding up maintenance and repairs schedules?
Come see us at The Emergency Services Show on 21st and 22nd September 2016. Call us on 01709 599 458 to arrange a meeting with our drone experts.
Training Your Council Staff
There is one more consideration to be made: you could always hire in a commercial drone pilot to do the work for you. That is, if you want your budget to rocket. They’re specialists and they’re damn good at their jobs – but local authorities are likely to need the support of drones across multiple projects nearly every day of the year. A contractor gets costly!
Instead, savings can be made by developing a crack team of super awesome commercial UAV pilots who are part of the local authority. You’ll make significant savings against regular contractors, and also have the added benefit of continued knowledge growth amongst the rest of your staff about drone usage across the local authority.
Training or using a commercial UAV pilot is essential for anything you do with a drone: it’s the law that any commercial aerial work must have permissions from the CAA. That means a trained pilot is required! As a public sector organisation it may seem strange to call it commercial aerial work – but the fact your council will benefit either financially (by, for example, using drone footage as a tourism marketing tool) or in kind makes it a commercial venture.
Choosing Your Drone Army
We hope you’ve seen now that drones are amazing, but definitely not one-drone-fits-all when it comes to local authority needs. Find out more about the different uses of drones in our Government section of the website – and if you have any more questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’re happy to help!
(Editor’s note: Just putting it out there that COPTRZ™ also offer financial options to help reduce the capital outlay of a drone and help you find the very best options for your needs as they change over time! Email us for more details).