Hundreds of people are already earning a living as drone pilots. Take, for instance, the freelancers and full-time quadcopter pilots working with SkyCatch. This Bay area startup has developed a new program known as Workmode which allows drone pilots in the area to earn anywhere from $300 to $1,200 daily by exercising their flying skills.
Hundreds of people are already earning a living as drone pilots. Take, for instance, the freelancers and full-time quadcopter pilots working with SkyCatch. This Bay area startup has developed a new program known as Workmode which allows drone pilots in the area to earn anywhere from $300 to $1,200 daily by exercising their flying skills. It’s a system designed to make connections between companies in need of on-demand drone flying work and those with the pro skills to put a quadcopter in the air. To date, Workmode provides four people with full-time employment and dozens more drone specialists with freelance work.
So far, drone pilots are doing a whole manner of jobs for those they serve. Some are filming interior videos for property managers, a few are lending their services to provide aerial views of construction zones for mapping purposes, while others are earning money by creating aerial videos for real estate firms. Workmode pilots are even working with Apple to help them in the planning of their new “Spaceship” campus.
SkyCatch didn’t start out in the freelance job market business, though – their mission evolved as they recognized the demand for a drone services marketplace. They began as a company specializing in highly-automated drones that they sold to commercial clients. They then moved into building software to allow clients to track their projects – clients such as Chevron or Komatsu. Today, they provide services to companies that need only small drone-related projects completed but don’t want to spend the money on equipment or pilot training to get them done.
SkyCatch’s hope is that, as more and more drone pilots develop their abilities, and as a greater number of firms recognize all the ways in which they can make use of drones for commercial purposes, the market for exchanging UAV services will grow. In fact, they anticipate that some day there will be thousands of jobs through Workmode for piloting freelancers.
The thing is that these jobs require more than just hobby-level skills. Professional drone pilots participating in Workmode and those who will be required for this type of work as the market expands will need to interface with specialized equipment. They’ll also need to be able to navigate with expertise, integrate new technologies such as specialized software and GPS devices, and analyze data as they view real-time data.
So, assuming the FAA greenlights the way for commercial UAV pilots to continue to market their services, we’re going to need a whole fleet of talented flyers who are highly-skilled. In other words, if you’re already toying around with your consumer drone and getting pretty good at it, you may wish to perfect your craft, fast. This is where the industry is going. Will you be one of the pioneers?
Image via Flickr: Sam Beebe