Before Amazon announced its idea of using drones for commercial purposes such as package deliveries, the word “drones” seemed like the equivalent of spy. Drones are unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAVs), usually controlled from land by ‘pilots’. Sometimes, they’re called the flying robots. They can also be pre-programmed to fly a certain route, doing their business as they go, mostly for reconnaissance. There is a shifting trend in the use of drones nowadays, leaning toward commercial purposes.
A lot of companies are tapping into the possibility of driving economy through this technology. Business Insider estimates that “12% of an estimated $98 billion in cumulative global spending on aerial drones over the next decade will be for commercial purposes”. BI Intelligence reports an annual growth rate difference of 14% between civilian drones and defense drones, with the market favoring civilian drones. Due to the number of people using unmanned aircraft vehicles now, the FAA in the US has begun to set limitations and regulations for this activity. (http://www.businessinsider.com/the-market-for-commercial-drones-2014-2)
How are drones used commercially?
Various drone models are being introduced in the mainstream, each with its own edge over the other. Small and big, they pave the way for more efficient and effective way of doing commerce. Although this is a relatively young industry, large businesses in the fields of agriculture, media, construction and real estate are already tapping the potential of using unmanned aerial vehicles as well as using it for scientific research.
In the world of aerial photography and cinematography, drones are of much use. Civilians are utilizing hobbyist drones to get powerful shots and to create films from high altitudes. Remotely controlled from the ground, they hover and take photographs of rivers, parks and roads also for aerial mapping. In popular video streaming websites such as YouTube, films created with drone videos are now getting a huge following too. From these shots, 360 panoramic tours of a place are now possible.
Journalism is also another big industry that sees the potential UAVs for news media. They harness information obtained from UAVs and use them to bring accurate and timely news to the masses such as search and rescue operations.
When it comes to real estate and construction, presenting good views of areas and properties from different angle are now a lot easier. In agriculture and land management, unmanned aircraft vehicles are becoming a huge help for surveillance and security as they can go in and out otherwise inaccessible places.
Package delivery and E-commerce is not yet an early focus of commercial drones, although as mentioned before, Amazon is playing with the idea and this may become a very profitable business in the near future.
Leading top drone vendors
Drones are flying in and out the shores of the United States. A complete list of commercial UAV manufacturers and users per country can be accessed through this site: http://www.uavglobal.com/commercial-uav-manufacturers/
Here are three of the world’s top Drone Vendors.
SZ DJI Technology Co., a company based in Shenxhen, China, have been supplying the drone market with cheap, powerful unmanned aircrafts, making it one of the pioneers in this product category. They are notable for their “Phantom” which are unmanned helicopters with four propellers and can be “piloted” by almost anyone.
Sensefly, a drone manufacturing company with its headquarters located in Switzerland. They create drones specifically used for getting aerial images, land surveillance and mapping. One of their products, eBee captures high resolution images from high altitudes which you can transform into 3D models.
Aeryon Lans, Inc., which manufactures drones in Waterloo produces drones for both commercial and military purposes. Their two featured drones, Skyranger and Scout, provide both markets with the necessary information they need.