Why are drones so expensive?

Why are drones so expensive?

Now wait a minute!!  Are drones expensive?  I believe that is the perspective of the buyer.  So to approach this question we really need to divide this into 2 perspectives.  

The first perspective is that of a hobbyist or a person looking to buy a toy drone or remote control flying thingy.

The second perspective is that of a professional looking for a tool to perform a job with more efficiency and ultimately at a lower cost of traditionally performed work.  Cost can be in the form of money, safety or even time.  Sure there may be other costs but this covers a majority of the costs to perform work.

Hobbyist Perspective

So first, the hobbyist. Drones geared towards a hobbyist have traditionally not been very expensive.  They are small and take a lot of hand eye coordination to fly them and you typically have to keep your hands on the controller at all times the drone is in the air.  Really you have a multi-rotor helicopter, often referred to as a drone.  But what makes a drone a drone?  More features!  So now, even with hobbyists drones, prices have started to climb because they are adding cameras and GPS, and now the government is involved, so Remote ID is added to the drone to know who is flying and where they are flying from.   Most drones have many features and most have fail safes such as return to home as the battery gets low or if there is a signal loss.   So from a hobbyists perspective a drone has now gone from $40 to more than $500 or even higher depending on the features such as object tracking and obstacle avoidance to prevent crashing.

Professional Perspective

So now let’s look at the perspective of a professional.  As an example, you have a surveyor who wants to go out and survey 100 acres.  If the land is mostly clear this can be done with 2 people in a few days.  If there are trees and bushes, then a survey can take longer. Sure there can be other variables but this is just showing you the quick savings.  We can now look at using a drone to fly the 100 acres in about an hour, then take the imagery and use a computer and a few hours later you have a survey done of the 100 acres with accuracy under 1/10th of a foot!  You go from 48 man hours to only 5 man hours to be conservative, that is a HUGE savings.  Now if you want to do this on a weekly basis, a 2 man team would cost quite a bit versus a drone.  Plus your accuracy would suffer if there are a lot of trees and bushes.  The technology in the drones allow for high accuracy and the costs of drones that can this start at around only $2000.  Even if the drone costs $20,000 this is a lower cost over time when you are flying each week.  That would pay for itself pretty quickly. 

So are drones expensive, in one respect they are.  But keep in mind these drones nowadays are packed with lots of technology from high quality cameras and sensors, to automatic mission flights and obstacle avoidance, tracking capabilities and so much more.  They have more technology than most cars and yes, some of these drones are more expensive than many cars.

I just barely spoke on ONE use case for a professional.  You can analyze massive amounts of data, determine stockpile quantities, plant health, plant fertilizing and so much more. If you have a need for a drone but you are unsure which one will make your life a little easier, feel free to reach out to us at Blue Skies Drones.