It stood to reason, if one drove a buggy (the primary mode of transportation then), one must have a buggy whip. At the industry’s height, there were around 13,000 companies that depended on the buggy business. Within a few decades, the industry – and the jobs it supported — collapsed thanks to the rise of the automobile.
In 2014, the “buggy-whip” syndrome may threaten a wide swath of professions with the rise of the drones.
Case-in-point: Crop-dusting (or more prosaically termed agricultural piloting). Although the industry is deploying a vast array of weapons (lobbying, lawsuits and PR campaigns, etc.) to fight the use of UAVs in their sector, the future is clear – manned agricultural flights (awash with safety issues, more insurance and higher energy costs) will soon be grounded.
“The National Agricultural Aviation Administration spent $106,000 last year lobbying against drones in Congress. It was also the only entity to side with the FAA in its ongoing court battle with a commercial drone operator, suggesting that the National Transportation Safety Board judge was too hasty to make a precedent-setting decision about commercial drone use.”
Drones have already changed the way farmers and other agricultural industry entities do business, and the industrial use of drones will likely affect more and more businesses — from film to videography to sports
Insurance Investigation: Property attorney Jason Wolf envisions a time when: “after a catastrophe, an adjuster pulls up to a neighborhood and opens the trunk of his car and presses a few buttons on his tablet device and the drone does an immediate survey of everything and streams it all right to his tablet device, and he knows exactly where to go first and what’s most significant.”
Delivery: It’s been well documented that Amazon plans to use drones to deliver a cornucopia of consumer goods via UAV and other business are following suit: pizza delivery, cigarettes (albeit illegally), packages, and alcoholic beverages (beer, champagne and cocktails). Indeed, the delivery profession may be the most quickly affected since drones have a huge advantage in terms of direct flight paths (“as the crow flies”) to waiting customers – no traffic jams, no speeding concerns and no tips.
Law enforcement: As reported in Reason magazine: “Drones [will] be deployed by SWAT teams, border patrol agents, and traffic cops.”
And the rest: Drones are already being used in many specialized professions including tour guides, archaeology and even sheep herders. It’s fair to say that – like the PC, Internet and cell phone industries, within the decade there will scarcely be a business that doesn’t use a drone in some capacity.
So, like the buggy whip maker, what can soon-to-be-obsolete professionals do to draw the paychecks of their future? In the case of crop-dusters, Motherboard.com’s Jason Koebler offers a simple solution: “It’s time for agriculture pilots to learn to fly drones or prepare for a world in which they’re completely replaced.”
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
Subscribe to DroneLife here.