Over the last five years drones have burst on to the main stage, with the help of large companies such as DJI and tech giants like Google and Amazon. who are both working on commercial drone delivery for the masses. There’s no doubt that drones are taking over the world and replacing old and current ways of doing jobs, which is great for safety, efficiency and reliability.
This article aims to look at the current situation we are in with consumer and commercial drones, the uses for the drones and what the future will look like with drones.
This sector is more known to the public, many people use drones to create videos, take photos and race drones around their local park. You might think that recreational drones sales are the main income for drone manufacturers and related companies, that is not right. As you might know where there is play there is also work, which is the sector everyone is focused on and will be the main focus of the years to come.
Drones are great to relieve stress, have fun and feel the thrill of flying. These reasons alone have prompted millions to step into the drone world and purchase their first drone. These drones are usually micro or mini-drones that cost no more than fifty dollars and provide hours of fun for kids as well as adults.
A large portion of the recreational drone sector purchase drones to take photos or videos (why I first got a drone). Despite the small size of current recreational drones offered they are often more powerful than today’s smartphones, leading towards digital SLR and mirror-less cameras. Many people have made great content using drones for their known aerial work but also as ground-based gimbals, the most versatile camera to have around. Drone giant DJI has created a cult following and some of the best entry-level and consumer-friendly drones on the market today.
As most things evolve people often want to go fast, this is the same for drones. Over the last few years racing drones have started hitting the market to fulfil the childhood dreams of many people flying through the air at high speeds with out any of the apparent dangers.
The less known but more promising sector of drones is the commercial value they add to many companies in many areas around the world. Recently prices of commercial drones have come down significantly, allowing existing companies to create new jobs for drone pilots as well as allowing new companies to start up and take advantage of the wallet-friendly equipment such as Australian companies’ Remdrone and Sphere Drones.
Farmers the world over are starting to adopt drones to allow farming and crop monitoring to be done in a much more efficient manner. Many farms have implemented drones to measure crop growth over the season, allowing farmers to know how crops are going in a much faster time frame and make adjustments to ensure crops are at their best. Drones are also being used to detect animals that might be eating crops as well as being used to spray fertilizer and insecticides to ensure crops are as healthy as possible.
Just like the consumer sector drones used in photography and filming in the commercial sector is massive. Many new films use a drone in one way or another, whether they are used to create fast follow scenes no other camera equipment is able to reach or films only using drones to keep costs down and create A grade movies. Many of the world’s photographers also use drones to go places where they are unable to reach on foot, such as active volcanoes.
Mining giants such as BHP and Rio Tinto are adopting drones to create safer and more efficient working environments. Currently drones are being used to inspect mining equipment, track mining activities, monitoring blast sites and making sure explosives are placed correctly, Many mines around Australia and the world also use drones to create 3D and thermal interactive maps of the sites to allow for greater knowledge of minerals in the surrounding earth and to ensure mining is done in the safest and most effective way possible.
Imagine climbing a windmill or a power pole. Scared of heights or falling from heights? Drones with zoom cameras have allowed for workers to effectively find faults and keep hard to reach assets easily managed by sending a drone up to inspect them in a much more efficient and in-depth way. Allowing analysis by a team instead of the one or two inspectors that would previously scale the heights.
You need a last minute addition to a dinner party but unable to go pick up the food, no need to worry drone delivery is here. Companies such as Amazon and Google are successfully working on delivering food and anything else you can buy online (within reason) to get it delivered by drones in a much smaller time frame. 2-hour delivery here we come.
Drones in the medical field are less known but there are many cases to use them. Many remote areas that take days or even weeks to access, only take a few hours to get to buy drones. DHL currently has drones that deliver malaria vaccines and life-saving medicines to remote villages in Africa ensuring as many lives are saved. Companies have also ventured into using drones as a faster way for 000 calls to be answered by sending drones that have defibrillators that can be used by the caller or bystanders, hopefully giving a greater chance of resuscitation for the affected person.
Drone fact: Drones were used at the last Super Bowl to monitor and ensure the event went well. Drones have been used in security and surveillance for tens of years now in government and army use, but this is not the focus. Many events, locations, and high profile visits are now using drones to control crowds, monitor fence lines and maintain areas saving companies a lot of money as they no longer need to employ as many people to watch over areas.
We all know that bush-fires can be deadly, moving at high speeds to towns without much we can do to stop them. Many firefighters are using drones to monitor and maintain bush-fires as well as structure fires to ensure no one is endangered at the least damage is done. The fire that broke out at the Notre Dame in Paris, France was put out with the help of DJI drones to monitoring the fire to allow firefighters to save as much of the structure as possible. Many police units and search and rescue teams also use drones to cover more area than possible on foot and a fraction of the cost of helicopters.
As people are always looking for a high-speed adventure it was obvious that racing drones would soon become one of the largest growing sports in the world. Many drone racing leagues have popped up over the world such as the Indian Drone Racing League and the US-based Drone Racing League which has gained worldwide attention being sponsored by the famous Allianz Insurance and broadcasted to households via ESPN and Sky Sports channels, creating massive prize pools to exist.
Drones are currently replacing fireworks at events around the world due to their lower costs and higher safety. Intel, yes the computer company, is one of the largest companies investing in this area with the record-breaking Shooting Star drones. Creating 3D choreographed aerial shows with hundreds of drones flying around in the skies isn’t the easiest job to do but saves events like the Super Bowl millions allowing more to be spent on the event experience instead of buying fireworks which less safe and worse for the environment. Next time you are attending a sporting final or new years celebration watch for drones lighting up the skies.
Much like the current ride share services, drones are here to further the services. In 2020 Uber are planning a sky based ride sharing service aimed at sky travel, more specifically travelling by manned drones. A few companies such as EHang are already working on these flying people movers and plan to have both manned and unmanned versions of the drones much like the driver and driver-less cars of today’s world.
The future of drones is only going to get larger as the price comes down and more uses are thought of. Many of the current use cases are in sections of the market that will never go away, such as the mining, agricultural and emergency services to name a few. Being in the drone world right now is very exciting, watching all the new business spring it to action as well as old adopting new.
In five years we can only imagine the many drones flying above our heads delivering everything from toilet paper to your new drone and not to mention the passenger drones transporting people from A to B in Uber like services. Let’s hope that governments around the world are able to keep up with the advancements in technology and are able to regulate and make laws that make it safe for everyone. What do you think the future holds for drones?
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