(Source: Market Watch)
Next generation commercial drones achieve a complete replacement of existing commercial airfreight delivery systems, they are used for 3D mapping, commercial pipeline observation, border patrol, package delivery, photography, and agriculture. They are more energy efficient, last longer and have a significantly lower cost of operation than manned aircraft.
Commercial Drones markets promise to grow significantly because of the more economical visualization and navigation provided by systems. Visualization includes mapping from the air, inspection from the air, surveillance from the air, and package delivery from the air. The unmanned aircraft equipped with cameras are able to do things that cannot be done in any other way. This bodes well for market development.
Unmanned aircraft systems promise to achieve a more significant aspect of commercial market presence. Army Unmanned Aircraft Systems flying of 3 million flight hours gives drones market credibility. Eighty eight percent of those hours were logged in combat situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, paving the way for commercial drone markets to develop.
Quantities of fielded systems increase as application usefulness increases. Police departments, the oil and gas industry, border patrol, and utilities are all using commercial drones. Units are used for agriculture. Vendors continue to improve the capabilities of these drone aircraft as more air miles are logged. Their ability to support the commercial endeavors is increasing. Unmanned aircraft have fundamentally changed the accuracy of utility and oil and gas inspections. They are set to fundamentally change how agriculture is conducted.
Japan and Australia have been using drones in agriculture since the 1980s. Worldwide markets are evolving for several compelling applications. High value crops are a target of agricultural robotic development. What could be tastier than a strawberry, perfectly formed, and perfectly ripened? New agricultural robots are able to improve the delivery of consistent quality food, and to implement efficiency in managing food production.
Strawberries are a high profit crop. A new generation of drones has just been born. Strawberry spraying with the world’s most advanced technology is able to give maximum performance to a farm. Harvesting robots can use pictures from drones to optimize the productivity of the farming business by determining fruit ripeness from the air. Growers can get the best results in a berry farm using automated process. Automated picking collection systems improve labor productivity, give speed and agility to harvest operations.
The robotic platforms are capable of site-specific spraying. The capability is targeted spraying only on foliage and selected targets. It can be used for selective harvesting of fruit. The robots detect the fruit, sense its ripeness, then move to grasp and softly detach only ripe fruit.
Drone commercial uses will provide billions of dollars in economic growth. Centers of excellence are evolving worldwide. For the most part, open-use policies are in effect worldwide. Except in the US, Drones are currently mostly banned in the US. The US is more restrictive, it could take months, even years before the FAA offers preliminary guidelines on the commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com