Not the first time this has happened but the first time a company has announced it on their blog. AdNear are a location based marketing firm from Singapore. They aim to deliver adverts to you as you walk past a store.
Personally I am not convinced of the advantage of using multirotors, a fixed wing platform would give greater endurance. Data in ten minute bursts seems very limiting. One would suspect that they already have boxes in trees and every advert installation recording what cell phones are walking by and when. These would be H24 all weather solutions.
The drone angle, most certainly a commercial use will get them a call on Monday from the FAA but by then the outcry in the press will have put them top of mind all over the world. I doubt they would be fined, but a $10k fine would be cheap compared to the value of advertising and media mentions. Some sections of US society will go share crazy when they realise Singapore is not in the USA. Please feel free to post me the wildest commentries that you see and I will re post them with glee.
From the AdNear blog
At AdNear we always think of innovative approaches in technology. Whether it is the way we designed our global location platform or the way we setup our ad-tech infrastructure. One interesting approach is on how we are prepping to collect wireless data across regions.
Till now AdNear has been using bikes, cars, trains, and even walking up the stairs to collect data including Wi-Fi and cell tower signals. This wireless data helps AdNear’s location platform precisely locate devices without the need of GPS or operator assistance.
Today we started initial tests with drones to collect data. And the results have been fantastic! Besides, this turns out to be the most efficient mode.
Here are the three most crucial aspects that give us distinctive advantage of using drones over other mediums:
- Better altitude coverage
- Radius beyond roads
- GPS controlled flight path
The usage of drones for location data collection would tremendously reduce human intervention and ease the process of collating data in inaccessible regions. Drones will also enable quick assimilation of a large-scale location data, which would mean faster new market entry for us, since it does take much higher effort at present. We are talking a new level of scale all together.
AdNear plans to use drones in select geographies post successful completion of these tests to collect the wireless data that is crucial to its audience profiling data. Privacy and legal compliance are of highest importance to us. Just to keep the record straight; we only collect signals passively and do not record videos or photos. And there is no PII involved either.