Drones are having a bit of a big week. In addition to getting eagle-pounced, stressing animals out, and becoming a tool for the police, a for-hire service called Droners has launched, and is looking to be the Uber for people who need drones on demand.
For-hire drones aren't particularly new. The service seems like the first manifestation of what Gofor, an early idea for on-demand drones, was aiming for. And there have also been other, sparser networks: Dronebase, for instance, is another service that hooks people up with a drone pilot for established rates.
But Droners appears to be the first to give a platform and Uber-styled competition model for drone pilots. In fact, nix the app and substitute cars for drone pilots and it's essentially the same thing.
There's a job board, where clients can choose what service they need, be it sports recording, real estate footage, events, production and editing. Unlike Dronebase, which only seems to do imaging and video, Droners even opens the floor up to 3D scanning drones, drone trainers, and repairmen as well.
It's a little more involved than Uber to the point where it looks a little more like Taskrabbit, another sharing economy service that connects users to manual laborers. But luckily for Droners, Taskrabbit doesn't have much in the way of hiring drone pilots and video producers.
Clients can then publish a listing, description and budget, à la Craigslist. That'll ping available droners in the area by email who can do any of those things, and they'll be able to bid for the job and give them the chance to market themselves (there's a section for pilots to post video reels, for example).
When the dust clears, one person is chosen, and the other offers will be shown as "lost to another bid," which is pretty gnarly. Even Uber doesn't show that competitiveness under the hood.
But then again, Uber doesn't let you choose your driver, either.