Drone is the name that we commonly use when referring to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). This definition includes any flying vehicle that doesn’t have a human pilot — from multimillion-dollar military bombing drones to the $ 40 Amazon hobbyist bestseller. While drones have been the subject of controversy and speculation, it’s important to recognize the many benefits that drones can provide to both individuals and organizations.
What Drones Can Really Do
Drones have been employed in agriculture, search and rescue, and filmmaking, as well as many other professional fields. They have been used to take HD aerial photographs, survey archaeological sites, and even herd sheep. Outside of this, they provide a cheap and accessible way to harness the skies, an option that would previously require expensive helicopters or other aircraft. While they have their limitations, drones are still incredibly versatile, and their commercial uses are only growing.
The market for UAVs is predicted to be worth more than $ 89 billion over the next decade, with 10 percent of that market being commercial and civilian interests. Although legislation has not yet been made to allow commercial use of these machines, they are easily available to the public for personal use, with over one hundred different drones on sale at Amazon.
Changing the Business Landscape from Above
Widespread use of this technology could prove to be a game-changer in many ways: automating deliveries, cutting down on human resource costs, remote monitoring in dangerous environments, and even providing a tech-savvy shortcut to labor-intensive jobs. Based on what companies are doing with them now, it looks like drones will save businesses a whole lot of money.
Not only are drones a great way to garner publicity for businesses, they can also revolutionize the way those businesses operate. This degree of automation has not existed ever before, and with wide-scale drone usage, entire industries could see massive changes in their infrastructure.
Here’s how some of our leading tech influencers are already experimenting with drones.
1. Amazon Prime Air
Amazon aims to deliver packages to your home in 30 minutes or less with their new drone delivery system. The drones can carry packages weighing up to 5 pounds and can travel within a 10-mile radius. While still in its early stages, Amazon expects it to be rolled out sometime in the near future.
SkyCall is an intuitive system designed by MIT students to help people navigate the confusing pathways of MIT campus. Connected to a smartphone app, these unmanned drones will guide you to your destination on campus. This is only the first stage in an ongoing project, which will eventually provide “novel, positive uses of UAV technology in the urban context.”
Australia’s relative freedom in drone regulations has led to the success of this start-up — Flirtey promises to deliver anything, at any time, to any place. While they are still in the early stages of development, their early grasp of this technology combined with their strong branding will surely lead to an influential position in this growing industry.
Dominoes’ UK branch recently played around with the idea of delivering pizza by air. Their aptly named “DomiCopter” dropped off a pair of pizzas in a viral video. While they have made no public plans for moving forward with the technology, many other food companies have considered the possibilities and benefits of automated food delivery.
With the promise of cheaper, safer, and more spacious aircraft, FedEx is on the forefront of businesses hoping to adopt unmanned drones into their business model. Even though the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has put up some serious roadblocks, it will only be a matter of time before drones revolutionize the express delivery industry.
Logistics start-up Matternet is considering the implications drone fleets can have on our healthcare system — namely, providing medicine and medical supplies to remote or under-developed areas. While still in development, their network has the potential to change the way we look at deliveries.
Specifically for those of you that live in rural areas “satellite internet access may be your only option”. However, Facebook is launching ‘Aquila’ a solar-powered drone that will provide internet to billions via laser communications. Aquila will be able to fly for three months at a time without landing and will use a laser to transport data to the base station on the ground. Facebook’s goal is to work with local ISP’s to deliver internet to large rural areas.
Drones are set to change the way we live, the way we do business, and the way we see — and connect with — the world. With an already booming industry and increasing commercial and public interest in them, we can be sure that big things are on the horizon.