Responding to this evolving technology, several companies from worldwide are developing new operating models for drone-based services. The main benefits of the drone disruption seem to be increased automation, improved operational efficiency, enhanced visibility, and accelerated decision making.
"The commercial opportunity is significant. Companies across all sectors in the GCC are becoming increasingly aware of drones and are exploring ways of benefiting from them."
In maritime industry, drones are gaining more and more a position in maritime surveillance. The drone inspection has been identified as a way to save time and money and to enhance workforce safety, as many of the inspected areas are high risk and difficult to access safely. Marine surveyors do not have to risk their lives by having to climb high places or be exposed to adverse conditions to check for defects.
In 2017, an industry consortium comprised by Akzo Nobel, Barrier Group, Bureau Veritas, Drone Ops, Hempel Paints A/S, Marine Technical Limits and Safinah Ltd, teamed up on a joint investment project (JIP) to develop drones capable to inspect steel structures in enclosed spaces.
Responding to the industry-wide trend to use more unmanned technology, the Korean Register announced in late 2017 that it started conducting inspection services using drones. Other recent examples of drone adoption technology include MPA Singapore developing the acceptance criteria for the usage of such remote inspection techniques on board Singapore-registered ships. In addition, in January 2018, Australia's CSIRO partnered with San Francisco-based Saildrone, to improve measurement and monitoring in Australia and the Southern Ocean by using advanced unmanned ocean surface vehicles for the first time in Australian waters. In the tugboat industry, the Netherlands-based towage provider KOTUG has applied for a patent to use drone technology in its tug operations.