You might have seen amazing areal views of tourist attractions posted by popular Instagrammers, photos by traveling journalists, coverage of most popular sporting events. These all became possible thanks to this new technology called drones. Also know as Unmanned Arial Vehicles (UAV), drones were formally used for sole military purposes, but this is about to change. Commercial drones are on the rise with its use now central to many business and government organizations.
Brief History and Today’s Use Cases
The idea of drone can be traced back to World War I, when USA and French defense authorities worked together on pilotless air vehicle. But in the past decade or so the adaptation of commercial drones has make it possible to expand and now it talk of an hour. Governments, commercial entities and individual have realized the potential of this technology and it can be used for the following purpose:
· Aerial photography and live sport streaming
· Disaster management and firefighting
· Geographical mapping of rigid and inaccessible terrains
· Large scale agriculture
· Parcel deliveries in disaster-struck areas
· Large scale construction projects
Commercialization of drones became possible due to three main developments. First, the attractive consumer market, which gave rise to a fierce competition between tech giants mainly based in china and Asia Pacific. Shenzhen, the hardware capital of the world draw leading companies to compete in the space. Most notable player is Da-Jiang Innovations (DJI) also based in Shenzhen, dominates major share in commercial drone sale. Second, the proliferation in North American market and lastly the start-up culture building throughout the globe in futuristic technologies.
There is huge industry around commercial drones. In recent forecast report by Goldman Sachs, global leading investment bank, the total of $100 bn is likely to be spent in next four years on both military and civilian drones. The leading market segments would be constructions ($11.2bn), agriculture ($5.9bn) and insurance ($1.4bn). In another report by BI (Business Insider) Intelligence, the market for commercial drone will grow at the compound annual rate of 19% between 2015 and 2020.(Source: BI Intelligence Report)
PricewaterCoopers (Pwc) reports also indicates that 80% of future commercial drone use will be in agriculture, while Bank of America Merril Lynch predicts that the total economic activities around drones will accumulate $82 bn in revenue.
Future of drone technology and challenges
Drone technology is constantly evolving with huge promise and challenges. From tech-savvy to ordinary individual .In generation 1 phase is basic remote control aircraft of all form. Generation 2 fix camera mount, video recording and photos are available. The final phase will be generation 7, in which full sustainable drone will be available. The possible challenges for mainstream adoption are regulatory issues around drone usage. There are specific restriction on height of drones flight is major concerns both for users and producers. Current Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) allows the altitude of 400 feet for all civil drones. It may vary from country to country and depends on purpose of the aircraft use. Security concerns are also high; it may invade privacy of ordinary man, put militarily secure sites at risk.
Emerging a mild start, civilian drones are now taking off with promise of improving live of many people throughout the globe. With passage of time commercial drone technologies will be safer and dependable resulting in notable social impact.