Simultaneous operation of multiple drones
Simultaneous operation of multiple drones
Masashi Kawaguchi
Chief Marketing Officer

[Q1] Please tell us about OKUMA DRONE (hereinafter referred to as OD)’s drone business.
We are devising drone solutions that can contribute to corporate activities in various industries. The main industries targeted include agriculture, forestry, construction, surveying, facility inspection, transportation, disaster prevention, and crime prevention, with a particular focus on themes that lead to solving social issues.
Specifically, we are conducting a number of demonstration experiments such as inspecting railway lines in depopulated areas where it is difficult to dispatch personnel for inspections, dispersing seeds for greening after landslides, and surveying houses after disasters.

[Q2] Among OD’s drone businesses, what kind of businesses are particularly likely to generate profits?
Drones have value in replacing tasks that were traditionally performed by humans with machines. However, the more specialized the theme, the more expensive the hardware is, and each drone costs one or two people to outsource its operations, making it less effective to replace conventional methods. As a result, demonstration experiments are increasing across the country, but in many cases they do not lead to practical application. This is the current difficulty in the drone industry.
Our philosophy is to minimize the cost burden on companies for the same area by allowing one person to operate and manage multiple aircraft at the same time. As a result, drones will be used more frequently in many industries, and drone manufacturers and operation providers will see increased sales. OD is also developing software for this purpose.

【Q3】 I don’t think there are many situations where multiple drones are used for flight management at the same time. What kind of efforts are needed to popularize this service?
It is true that in many cases there is still only one machine per site. On the other hand, when we look at Southeast Asia, where he is located, some expected demand scenes are already starting to exist.
For example, the farms of major oil palm companies in Malaysia and Indonesia are extremely large, with an average size of 2,000 hectares (about the same size as Tokyo’s Minato Ward). Farms across the country are frequently affected by serious diseases, and a large number of testing personnel are being deployed to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
However, when major companies calculated the possibility of replacing their vehicles with drones, they found that the annual cost was more than three times that of the conventional method, and the replacement with drones has not made much progress. The scale is too large and the cost impact of the expensive drone operators is too great. I think the effects of introducing multiple simultaneous operations will be significant in large-scale sites like this.

【Q4】 Please tell us about the progress of the service and its feasibility.

In fact, the basic development of a simultaneous flight management system for multiple aircraft has already been completed. We are currently conducting demonstration experiments and updating the software in collaboration with domestic and overseas drone manufacturers in order to turn it into a general-purpose software product.
On the other hand, due to the unique nature of industrial drones, hardware and parts are expensive, requiring expensive insurance or replacing them every time they fall and break.
We aim to create a product package that supports multiple simultaneous operations and achieves dramatic cost reductions.