• What are drone used for answered here covering every sector you can think of.  Drones are being used to save lives, environment works, archaeology, farming, property management, mining, construction and much more.

     

    We start by looking at what drones are used for in specific sectors and include some terrific video along the way.

     

    The drone industry is growing fast and every week we see press releases and research papers on what new areas drones are being used for.

     

    The usage of drones in some of these sectors was originally completed using helicopters and airplanes. However, these are expensive to hire and not always available when they were required.

     

    Using helicopters and airplanes is also very time consuming as they have to fly in from other locations and then do their work.

     

     

     

    Along with present uses for drones, we also look at new drone uses which are still in the experimental and research stages.  Without doubt, you will also see many hundreds of new uses for drones in the coming years.  There are also some terrific videos throughout this post.

     

     

    What Are Drones Used For List

    Here is a quick list of what drones are being used for.  You can see it basically covers almost every sector with more new uses coming on each week.

     

    Rescue

    Marketing

    Film making

    Site surveying

    Parcel Deliveries

    Imaging structures

    Precision agriculture

    Family Fun Occasions

    Lighting Concert Shows

    Counting Stockpiles

    Search and rescue

    Weather patterns

    Environmental

    Conservation

    Insurance

    Policing

    Sports

    Hundreds Of New Drone Uses Are Coming

    If you follow the drone industry,  you will read about so many new uses for drones every week.  For many of the above uses, drones with regular RGB cameras work.  The latest is the DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom. These have perfect flight stability and 4k cameras.  The Mavic 2 can sense objects on all 6 sides and fly around obstacles in front and behind.

     

    Now, a few years ago, ordinary cameras were the only payload mounted onto drones.

     

    Not any more. Now, we have Thermal, Multispectral, Vision, ToF, LiDAR and Photogrammetry camera sensors being mounted onto drones creating new uses for drones.  These are creating new solutions across various sectors.

     

    For example, only recently we now have drones mounted with methane sensors.  This will allow drones to fly over landfill dumps and monitor the levels of gas being emitted into the atmosphere.  These methane sensor drones can also be used for inspecting gas pipelines and tank inspections. This new use for drones is helping to create a cleaner and safer environment.

     

    So many sectors are benefiting from the use of drones, whether they are commercial, conservation or environmental works.  In many sectors such as mining and quarrying, they save time and more importantly, they are a safer way of surveying structures, buildings or quarry faces.  There is no need to put workers into hazardous or dangerous areas anymore.

     

    Drones With Sensors And Transducers 

    There are hundreds of various types of sensors and transducers which can be mounted onto drones.  New sensors are being developed all the time and there is huge research in making sensors smaller to fit onto drones.

     

     

     

    There are many types of transducers such as gravitational, mechanical, thermal, electromagnetic and chemical. These can be mounted individually or combined. Sometimes it is the combinations of sensors working together which will bring about many new uses for drones.

     

    One of the best books on sensors is called “Sensors, An Introductory Course“.  It has excellent knowledge on the various types of sensors and their applications.  The next few years are going to be groundbreaking for the drone sector with new solutions coming on the market to solve problems or bring efficiencies to various sectors.

     

    What Drones Are Used For 

    Drones Used For Search And Rescue

    Drone usage in search and rescue is growing rapidly. Drones are being used more and more in these mission critical sectors.  Fire Departments, Lifeguards, Mountain Rescue, First responders are big users of drones. This sector knows the value of drones in finding and rescuing people as quickly as possible.  Here are just a few of these positive uses for drones in this sector;

     

    Very recently drones dropped lifebuoys to swimmers who were in trouble

    Life Guards use drones over beaches keeping an eye on swimmers and watching out for sharks

    Finding missing persons.  Neighbors and communities have found missing persons using drones

    Search and Rescue teams (SAR) fly drones with cameras and thermal sensors to find hikers and mountaineers in trouble

    Police, Fire Crew and Rescue teams use drones with thermal vision cameras to find missing persons at night or in burning buildings

    Disaster regions use drones to get an overall picture of the extent of damage to property, infrastructure, telecoms find people and help with decision to allocate resources

    Drones Used For Marketing

    Drone today have GPS, the best stabilization and also 4k cameras.  They film and photograph perfectly which is exactly what you need for marketing videos and brochures. Here is some of the best usage of drones in the marketing sector.

     

    Drone tourism videos promoting top national parks and reserves

    Resort and hotel promotional videos and stills for brochures

    Overhead videos of homes and properties to assist sales

    Natural wonders and UNESCO site documentaries

    Event videos of gardens, shows and concerts

    Sales Of Automobiles with aerial videos

    Marketing and advertisement is so important for any business to grow.  To be able to produce professional quality aerial film and still photos cost effectively is extremely important.  Using a drone such as the DJI Inspire 1 will allow you create professional marketing material over and over.

     

    Drones Used For Professional Film Making

    You don’t need to spend a fortune to produce absolute stunning videos or films.  The drones in the past couple of years come with minimum 4k cameras and perfect flight stability.  They are being used to create scenes in many movies and TV productions.   DJI, Yuneec and Walkera to name a few are all producing top drones which output stunning quality film.

     

    Note: One of the best professional film making drones has to be the DJI Inspire 2. This was released a few months ago and was produced specifically for professional quality film making.

     

    It comes also with a ground gimbal so you can film all your film shots with it’s CineCore 2.0 image processing system which is capable of recording 5.2K videos in CinemaDNG.

     

    Below is an excellent short film which was created 100% by using the DJI Inspire 2 drone and ground gimbal which comes in 1 package.

     

     

    Drones Used For Construction / Building  Site Surveying

    This is a vast area where drones are presently being used across many sectors.  Drones are terrific for getting an overview and close ups of buildings and structures.  Drones are also a safer method of inspecting tall structures.  No need to send men up in a harness or scaffolding to inspect a roof, structure or building.

     

    Drones save loads of time as no there is no need to build scaffolding to survey a building or structure. More importantly using drones for many surveying work also saves employees from having to take on the responsibility of dangerous work.

     

    Drones are presently being used to survey all the following large building projects and maintenance works;

     

    Surveying factory buildings and industrial chimneys

    Detailed close up inspections of telecom masts

    Checking fences and agricultural buildings

    Maintenance of road and rail structures

    Road and highway building projects

    Major railway building works

    Laying of pipelines

    This is probably the biggest usage for commercial drones at present.  Site surveying moves across many sectors such as construction, mining, rail, forestry and parks to mention a few.

     

    Note: The best drone on the market for this type of site, bridge, building, mast, telecoms antennae surveying is the soon to be released DJI Matrice 200.  This quadcopter has camera options such as upward, downward or dual downward cameras. It also has dual batteries for longer flight times.  It is designed to be easy to carry and have it flying very quickly.  You can read more on the soon to be released DJI Matrice 200 here.

     

    Drone Used For Parcel / Medicine Delivery Service

    This area is constantly in the news.  We’ve seen drones being used to deliver pizza and Amazon are always releasing information about their Prime Air Delivery Project. There are so many big Postal companies across Europe and Asia which are trialing drone parcel deliveries.

     

     

     

    In the USA, Walmart are also testing drone deliveries. With all these big names testing and pushing, drones being used to deliver parcels is more than likely going to happen across countryside and cities.

     

    Drones are already been used to deliver essential medical products right across Rwanda.  The Zipline drone uses a small UAV to deliver blood products, vaccines and medicine.  The medical worker can place an order by text message and within minutes the UAV is on it’s way.

     

    Flying at 100 kilometers per hour it goes straight to it’s destination and deliveries the essential supplies. The parcel has a small parachute which is deployed when the parcel is released with the medical supplies landing safely.

     

    China Awards License For Parcel Delivery Drones

    On 2nd April 2018, it was announced that SF Express, China’s largest package carrier, was recently granted a license to use drones for package deliveries in the country by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).  This makes SF Express drone logistics license the first to be awarded in China.

     

    More than 40 billion parcels were shipped in mainland China last year (about 110 million packages a day) and volumes are expected to increase to 49 billion parcels this year, according to the State Post Bureau, China’s delivery-industry watchdog.

     

    Delivery firms have been eyeing the use of logistic drones to be used for parcel delivery since about 2015, when e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding partnered with Shanghai YTO Express Logistics in a one-time test – delivering packages of ginger tea by drone. New York-listed Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

     

    Drone Used For Imaging Structures

    There are perhaps thousands of statues, monuments and structures, which don’t have an accurate 3D Image.  For example, in 2015, Pix4D, together with Canadian drone manufacturer Aeryon Labs Inc and PUC University of Rio de Janeiro created the first accurate 3D model of Brazil’s most famous monument, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.

     

    The drone used automated flight plan using GPS and waypoints while at the same time taking thousands of photographs.  These photos were then stitched together into an accurate 3D model of the statue using Pix4D software.

     

    The specialized software used to stitch the photos together into 3D maps or 3D models is known as Photogrammetry software.  You can read about the market leaders in this article on the top photogrammetry software.

     

    This next video shows you the massive project under difficult weather conditions to accurately create the 3D model of the Christ the Redeemer statue.

     

     

    Drone Used For Agriculture

    For the past few years now, drone use on farms from livestock to crops and vines have been benefiting the farmer immensely.  Multispectral sensors on drones along with GPS waypoint navigation enable the owner to manage the farm more effectively in the following ways;

     

    Provide data on soil fertility to refine fertilization by detecting deficiencies

    Identify pests, disease and weeds. Optimize pesticide usage through early detection

    Help with land management as multispectral imagery will show whether crops need to be rotated in fields

    Control crop irrigation by identifying areas where water stress is suspected and if extra drainage or water is needed

    View damage to crops from farm machinery and make repairs or replace problematic machinery

    Count plants and determine spacing issues allowing estimation of crop yield

    Monitor livestock and also find sheep or cattle if lost

    Survey fencing and farm buildings

    Drones To Help Pollinate Plants

    Researchers in Japan have created small insect sized drones which can pollinate plants.  This will assist with indoor pollination and assist the real honeybee population.

     

    Drones Used For Family Occasions / Events

    Drone Uses In Many SectorsWhile many people today focus on all the commercial, environmental and conservation uses for drones, it has to be remembered that these drones are also tremendous fun.  It’s another item to pack along with the picnic basket and outdoor trip.

     

    Drones are easier than ever to fly and have many autonomous flight modes which allow you to concentrate on filming.

     

    Many drones come with follow me technology which make adventure filming so very easy.

     

    All the top drones have GPS, 4k cameras and have excellent stabilization which allow you to create professional videos and still shots.  Drones such as the DJI Mavic and Phantom 4 Pro are just so easy to fly and film with.  These come with inbuilt cameras and autonomous flight modes.

     

    Note: One of the best drones on the market has to be the DJI Phantom 4 Pro.  This drone has a top technology which allows it to fly super stable and film beautifully in 4k.  It has many auto flight modes which allow you to concentrate on guiding the camera for the best aerial film. These Phantom 4 Pro has 5 directions of obstacle detection and using Ultrasonic, Vision and Infrared collision avoidance sensors,

     

    A number of wedding planners are now using drones for some of the outdoor scenes.  It’s an extra memory from the biggest day in many peoples lives.

     

    For most drone owners, there is a challenge to capture some beautiful scenery or great adventure.  Many of the best drone videos of beautiful scenery have been made by hobby drone pilots who just love been outdoors flying and having fun.

     

    Drones Used For Synchronized Drone Light Concerts

    This is a new form of art entertainment and there have been a number of drone light show concerts to date.  This new form of light show may in fact take over from fireworks displays.  Here is a list of the some of the top drone light shows to date.

     

    Intel are the big name so far as they have put together shows with 300 to 500 drones in the air at any time.  The drone light shows are syncronized to music.  They are absolutely terrific events. Here is just a few;

     

    1218 drones steal the show at the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony 2018

    300 Drones Created An American Flag For The 2017 Super Bowl Halftime Show

    Sky Magic Drone Entertainment Show At Mount Fuji

    Starbright Holidays Drone Show at Disney Springs

    Intel’s 500 Drone Light Show in Sydney

    CES 2018 Intel Drone Light Show

     

    What Are Drones Used For Continued

    Drones Used For Counting Stockpiles

    Drones with either LiAR or Time-of-Flight sensors can be used to measure stockpiles of material such as stone, gravel, rock, pulp, paper, logs, wood chip, mulch, manure and much more.

     

    This is how it works. A drone with ToF sensor flies over the stockpile and captures the area in 3D with a single light pulse. The light pulse is measured in picoseconds (extremely fast).

     

    This data is automatically uploaded into cloud storage.  Next, the data is processed using specialized software and the aggregate of the stockpile can be presented in a couple of minutes, including the perimeter, area and volume of each stockpile. More detailed information of the stockpile is then generated over the next few hours.

     

    Stockpile density and cost factors can be entered to calculate stockpile weight and value which is required for stockpile inventory reports. Even odd shaped stockpiles against walls can be measured using Time-of-Flight sensors.

     

    Using drones to measure stockpiles is big for many industries such as

     

    Mining

    Quarrying

    Agriculture

    Forestry and Logging

    Road Construction & Maintenance

    Railway Construction & Maintenance

    Here is an excellent article about Time-of-Flight cameras on drones. It is relatively new technology and has many terrific uses.

     

    Without using Time-of-Flight sensors, drones have been used with ordinary cameras by towns to count the wild cat and dog populations to see how big the problem is.  Another community used drones to fly over areas which had a big problem with illegal dumping of waste and was able to take action using this data.

     

    Drones Used For Search and Rescue (SAR)

    Drones are perfect to be used in all types of search and rescue such as;

     

    Finding missing persons

    Avalanche watch on ski slopes

    Surveying parks and knowing where hikers are located

    Searching and surveying disaster zones after earthquakes, flooding and hurricanes

    Fire departments are using drones to fly over burning building to see the full extent of the fire

    Thermals cameras on drones can be used to see the temperature a fire is generating even when it looks out

    Drones using thermal cameras can be used during the night to find missing persons and also work in disaster zones

    The DJI Inspire 1 is being used in many SAR operations as it can be fitted with the Flir Thermal Cameras and has options for zoom cameras.

     

     

     

    Drones Used For Weather Patterns

    In areas affected by Tornadoes, researchers are working with drones to measure the lower atmosphere.  They hope to be able to give earlier warning announcements well before the Tornado strikes.  Oklahoma Researchers are expecting weather drones to help forecasters predict weather patterns more precisely allowing tornado warnings to be given anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes earlier.

     

    Presently, meteorologists use radar, satellites and balloons to check conditions in the upper and middle atmosphere. However, conditions at the lower atmosphere where we live are observed by instruments and people which puts their lives at risk.

     

    Drones Used For Conservation And Environment

    Drone Uses In Conservation And EnvironmentDrones and it’s sensor data driven technology have a wide range of conservation and environmental protection applications. From glacial feature modeling and erosion monitoring to animal counting and species identification, the list of projects which drones are being used for is long and continues to grow.

     

    There are many reasons why professionals such as environmental engineers and scientific researchers are increasingly using drones. The benefits to using drones in environmental and conservation projects is many.  Here is just a few of the types of conservation and environmental projects were drones are being used;

     

    Animal Management & Conservation

    Nest surveys

    Migration tracking

    Habitat management

    Species identification

    Perimeter assessment

    Animal/flock counting

    Camera trap image retrieval

    Vessel monitoring (e.g. whaling ships)

    Anti-poaching activities (identification, deterrence)

    Animal tracking (e.g. via radio tracker collars/triangulation)

    Plant Conservation

    Soil property & moisture analysis

    Growth/coverage monitoring

    Plant health/stress analysis

    Species identification

    Biomass estimation

    Plant/tree counting

    Forestry Conservation

    Forest mapping

    Biomass estimation

    Fire detection & tracking

    Vegetation health analysis

    Storm damage assessment

    Planting / re-planting campaign planning

    Deforestation / illegal logging / farming / incursion monitoring

    Change Monitoring

    Pre and post comparisons of storms and landslides

    Monitoring coastal and  soil erosion

    Forest degradation

    Glacial dynamics

    Terrain Modeling

    Volcano craters

    Glacial features

    River banks

    Morphology

    Cliff faces

    Beaches

    Coastal Management

    Volume estimation

    Erosion monitoring

    Storm damage assessment

    Beach replenishment planning

    River & flood assessment

    Aerial assessment of flood damage

    River mapping & modeling

    Flood defense planning

    Water-flow simulation

    Erosion monitoring

    River surveys

    Earthwork And Rock Face Management

    3D modeling

    Control screen inspection

    Crack / unstable area detection

    Rock fall assessment

    Project planning

    Regulation Enforcement

    Illegal activity detection & monitoring

    Compliance monitoring (e.g. over fishing, illegal logging and entry into protected areas etc.)

    Drones Used For Environmental And Conservation Works

    One of the big names and most popular drones for use in environment and conservation work is the SenseFly eBee. It is a long range drone and can carry multiple sensors such as RGB cameras, Near-infrared (NIR), red-edge (RED), multispectral and also thermal cameras.

     

     

     

    There are many other drones which can also do this work. If you know your project completely, then you will know the type of drone and sensors which you need for the project.

     

    Drones Used For Insurance 

    Insurance companies are now using drones to help access damage to buildings from fire, flooding or from heavy winds.  Drones may also be used to fly over car and rail accidents to also access the damage and to assist with the claims process.

     

    Accessing damage to buildings and structures

    Maybe be used around accident areas to also access damage costs

    Insurance companies are also now starting to insure commercial drones

    Drones Used For Policing

    Drones are far more cheaper and are more widely available than police helicopters.  You will definitely see more drones being used by police forces in the following ways;

     

    Survey and assist with crowd management at concerts and demonstrations

    Aerial views to assist with investigations into car and rail crashes

    Help as part of search and rescue to find missing persons

    Used in search and rescue in natural disaster areas

    May be used as part of community watch

    Drones Used For Sports

    Drones are finding their way into so many aspects of sports.  Here is just a few way drones are being used in sports;

     

    American Football teams analyzing strategy and play

    Drone racing league race events supported by ESPN

    Assisting athletes to analyse their running techniques

    Filming of extreme sporting events in scenic locations

    Excellent for filming water skiing and big wave surfing

     

    FIA World Rally Championships’ filmed for WRC+ TVWhat are drones used for answered here covering every sector you can think of.  Drones are being used to save lives, environment works, archaeology, farming, property management, mining, construction and much more.

     

    We start by looking at what drones are used for in specific sectors and include some terrific video along the way.

     

    The drone industry is growing fast and every week we see press releases and research papers on what new areas drones are being used for.

     

    The usage of drones in some of these sectors was originally completed using helicopters and airplanes. However, these are expensive to hire and not always available when they were required.

     

    Using helicopters and airplanes is also very time consuming as they have to fly in from other locations and then do their work.

     

     

     

    Along with present uses for drones, we also look at new drone uses which are still in the experimental and research stages.  Without doubt, you will also see many hundreds of new uses for drones in the coming years.  There are also some terrific videos throughout this post.

     

     

    What Are Drones Used For List

    Here is a quick list of what drones are being used for.  You can see it basically covers almost every sector with more new uses coming on each week.

     

    Rescue

    Marketing

    Film making

    Site surveying

    Parcel Deliveries

    Imaging structures

    Precision agriculture

    Family Fun Occasions

    Lighting Concert Shows

    Counting Stockpiles

    Search and rescue

    Weather patterns

    Environmental

    Conservation

    Insurance

    Policing

    Sports

    Hundreds Of New Drone Uses Are Coming

    If you follow the drone industry,  you will read about so many new uses for drones every week.  For many of the above uses, drones with regular RGB cameras work.  The latest is the DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom. These have perfect flight stability and 4k cameras.  The Mavic 2 can sense objects on all 6 sides and fly around obstacles in front and behind.

     

    Now, a few years ago, ordinary cameras were the only payload mounted onto drones.

     

    Not any more. Now, we have Thermal, Multispectral, Vision, ToF, LiDAR and Photogrammetry camera sensors being mounted onto drones creating new uses for drones.  These are creating new solutions across various sectors.

     

    For example, only recently we now have drones mounted with methane sensors.  This will allow drones to fly over landfill dumps and monitor the levels of gas being emitted into the atmosphere.  These methane sensor drones can also be used for inspecting gas pipelines and tank inspections. This new use for drones is helping to create a cleaner and safer environment.

     

    So many sectors are benefiting from the use of drones, whether they are commercial, conservation or environmental works.  In many sectors such as mining and quarrying, they save time and more importantly, they are a safer way of surveying structures, buildings or quarry faces.  There is no need to put workers into hazardous or dangerous areas anymore.

     

    Drones With Sensors And Transducers 

    There are hundreds of various types of sensors and transducers which can be mounted onto drones.  New sensors are being developed all the time and there is huge research in making sensors smaller to fit onto drones.

     

     

     

    There are many types of transducers such as gravitational, mechanical, thermal, electromagnetic and chemical. These can be mounted individually or combined. Sometimes it is the combinations of sensors working together which will bring about many new uses for drones.

     

    One of the best books on sensors is called “Sensors, An Introductory Course“.  It has excellent knowledge on the various types of sensors and their applications.  The next few years are going to be groundbreaking for the drone sector with new solutions coming on the market to solve problems or bring efficiencies to various sectors.

     

    What Drones Are Used For 

    Drones Used For Search And Rescue

    Drone usage in search and rescue is growing rapidly. Drones are being used more and more in these mission critical sectors.  Fire Departments, Lifeguards, Mountain Rescue, First responders are big users of drones. This sector knows the value of drones in finding and rescuing people as quickly as possible.  Here are just a few of these positive uses for drones in this sector;

     

    Very recently drones dropped lifebuoys to swimmers who were in trouble

    Life Guards use drones over beaches keeping an eye on swimmers and watching out for sharks

    Finding missing persons.  Neighbors and communities have found missing persons using drones

    Search and Rescue teams (SAR) fly drones with cameras and thermal sensors to find hikers and mountaineers in trouble

    Police, Fire Crew and Rescue teams use drones with thermal vision cameras to find missing persons at night or in burning buildings

    Disaster regions use drones to get an overall picture of the extent of damage to property, infrastructure, telecoms find people and help with decision to allocate resources

    Drones Used For Marketing

    Drone today have GPS, the best stabilization and also 4k cameras.  They film and photograph perfectly which is exactly what you need for marketing videos and brochures. Here is some of the best usage of drones in the marketing sector.

     

    Drone tourism videos promoting top national parks and reserves

    Resort and hotel promotional videos and stills for brochures

    Overhead videos of homes and properties to assist sales

    Natural wonders and UNESCO site documentaries

    Event videos of gardens, shows and concerts

    Sales Of Automobiles with aerial videos

    Marketing and advertisement is so important for any business to grow.  To be able to produce professional quality aerial film and still photos cost effectively is extremely important.  Using a drone such as the DJI Inspire 1 will allow you create professional marketing material over and over.

     

    Drones Used For Professional Film Making

    You don’t need to spend a fortune to produce absolute stunning videos or films.  The drones in the past couple of years come with minimum 4k cameras and perfect flight stability.  They are being used to create scenes in many movies and TV productions.   DJI, Yuneec and Walkera to name a few are all producing top drones which output stunning quality film.

     

    Note: One of the best professional film making drones has to be the DJI Inspire 2. This was released a few months ago and was produced specifically for professional quality film making.

     

    It comes also with a ground gimbal so you can film all your film shots with it’s CineCore 2.0 image processing system which is capable of recording 5.2K videos in CinemaDNG.

     

    Below is an excellent short film which was created 100% by using the DJI Inspire 2 drone and ground gimbal which comes in 1 package.

     

     

    Drones Used For Construction / Building  Site Surveying

    This is a vast area where drones are presently being used across many sectors.  Drones are terrific for getting an overview and close ups of buildings and structures.  Drones are also a safer method of inspecting tall structures.  No need to send men up in a harness or scaffolding to inspect a roof, structure or building.

     

    Drones save loads of time as no there is no need to build scaffolding to survey a building or structure. More importantly using drones for many surveying work also saves employees from having to take on the responsibility of dangerous work.

     

    Drones are presently being used to survey all the following large building projects and maintenance works;

     

    Surveying factory buildings and industrial chimneys

    Detailed close up inspections of telecom masts

    Checking fences and agricultural buildings

    Maintenance of road and rail structures

    Road and highway building projects

    Major railway building works

    Laying of pipelines

    This is probably the biggest usage for commercial drones at present.  Site surveying moves across many sectors such as construction, mining, rail, forestry and parks to mention a few.

     

    Note: The best drone on the market for this type of site, bridge, building, mast, telecoms antennae surveying is the soon to be released DJI Matrice 200.  This quadcopter has camera options such as upward, downward or dual downward cameras. It also has dual batteries for longer flight times.  It is designed to be easy to carry and have it flying very quickly.  You can read more on the soon to be released DJI Matrice 200 here.

     

    Drone Used For Parcel / Medicine Delivery Service

    This area is constantly in the news.  We’ve seen drones being used to deliver pizza and Amazon are always releasing information about their Prime Air Delivery Project. There are so many big Postal companies across Europe and Asia which are trialing drone parcel deliveries.

     

     

     

    In the USA, Walmart are also testing drone deliveries. With all these big names testing and pushing, drones being used to deliver parcels is more than likely going to happen across countryside and cities.

     

    Drones are already been used to deliver essential medical products right across Rwanda.  The Zipline drone uses a small UAV to deliver blood products, vaccines and medicine.  The medical worker can place an order by text message and within minutes the UAV is on it’s way.

     

    Flying at 100 kilometers per hour it goes straight to it’s destination and deliveries the essential supplies. The parcel has a small parachute which is deployed when the parcel is released with the medical supplies landing safely.

     

    China Awards License For Parcel Delivery Drones

    On 2nd April 2018, it was announced that SF Express, China’s largest package carrier, was recently granted a license to use drones for package deliveries in the country by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).  This makes SF Express drone logistics license the first to be awarded in China.

     

    More than 40 billion parcels were shipped in mainland China last year (about 110 million packages a day) and volumes are expected to increase to 49 billion parcels this year, according to the State Post Bureau, China’s delivery-industry watchdog.

     

    Delivery firms have been eyeing the use of logistic drones to be used for parcel delivery since about 2015, when e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding partnered with Shanghai YTO Express Logistics in a one-time test – delivering packages of ginger tea by drone. New York-listed Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

     

    Drone Used For Imaging Structures

    There are perhaps thousands of statues, monuments and structures, which don’t have an accurate 3D Image.  For example, in 2015, Pix4D, together with Canadian drone manufacturer Aeryon Labs Inc and PUC University of Rio de Janeiro created the first accurate 3D model of Brazil’s most famous monument, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.

     

    The drone used automated flight plan using GPS and waypoints while at the same time taking thousands of photographs.  These photos were then stitched together into an accurate 3D model of the statue using Pix4D software.

     

    The specialized software used to stitch the photos together into 3D maps or 3D models is known as Photogrammetry software.  You can read about the market leaders in this article on the top photogrammetry software.

     

    This next video shows you the massive project under difficult weather conditions to accurately create the 3D model of the Christ the Redeemer statue.

     

     

    Drone Used For Agriculture

    For the past few years now, drone use on farms from livestock to crops and vines have been benefiting the farmer immensely.  Multispectral sensors on drones along with GPS waypoint navigation enable the owner to manage the farm more effectively in the following ways;

     

    Provide data on soil fertility to refine fertilization by detecting deficiencies

    Identify pests, disease and weeds. Optimize pesticide usage through early detection

    Help with land management as multispectral imagery will show whether crops need to be rotated in fields

    Control crop irrigation by identifying areas where water stress is suspected and if extra drainage or water is needed

    View damage to crops from farm machinery and make repairs or replace problematic machinery

    Count plants and determine spacing issues allowing estimation of crop yield

    Monitor livestock and also find sheep or cattle if lost

    Survey fencing and farm buildings

    Drones To Help Pollinate Plants

    Researchers in Japan have created small insect sized drones which can pollinate plants.  This will assist with indoor pollination and assist the real honeybee population.

     

    Drones Used For Family Occasions / Events

    Drone Uses In Many SectorsWhile many people today focus on all the commercial, environmental and conservation uses for drones, it has to be remembered that these drones are also tremendous fun.  It’s another item to pack along with the picnic basket and outdoor trip.

     

    Drones are easier than ever to fly and have many autonomous flight modes which allow you to concentrate on filming.

     

    Many drones come with follow me technology which make adventure filming so very easy.

     

    All the top drones have GPS, 4k cameras and have excellent stabilization which allow you to create professional videos and still shots.  Drones such as the DJI Mavic and Phantom 4 Pro are just so easy to fly and film with.  These come with inbuilt cameras and autonomous flight modes.

     

    Note: One of the best drones on the market has to be the DJI Phantom 4 Pro.  This drone has a top technology which allows it to fly super stable and film beautifully in 4k.  It has many auto flight modes which allow you to concentrate on guiding the camera for the best aerial film. These Phantom 4 Pro has 5 directions of obstacle detection and using Ultrasonic, Vision and Infrared collision avoidance sensors,

     

    A number of wedding planners are now using drones for some of the outdoor scenes.  It’s an extra memory from the biggest day in many peoples lives.

     

    For most drone owners, there is a challenge to capture some beautiful scenery or great adventure.  Many of the best drone videos of beautiful scenery have been made by hobby drone pilots who just love been outdoors flying and having fun.

     

    Drones Used For Synchronized Drone Light Concerts

    This is a new form of art entertainment and there have been a number of drone light show concerts to date.  This new form of light show may in fact take over from fireworks displays.  Here is a list of the some of the top drone light shows to date.

     

    Intel are the big name so far as they have put together shows with 300 to 500 drones in the air at any time.  The drone light shows are syncronized to music.  They are absolutely terrific events. Here is just a few;

     

    1218 drones steal the show at the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony 2018

    300 Drones Created An American Flag For The 2017 Super Bowl Halftime Show

    Sky Magic Drone Entertainment Show At Mount Fuji

    Starbright Holidays Drone Show at Disney Springs

    Intel’s 500 Drone Light Show in Sydney

    CES 2018 Intel Drone Light Show

     

    What Are Drones Used For Continued

    Drones Used For Counting Stockpiles

    Drones with either LiAR or Time-of-Flight sensors can be used to measure stockpiles of material such as stone, gravel, rock, pulp, paper, logs, wood chip, mulch, manure and much more.

     

    This is how it works. A drone with ToF sensor flies over the stockpile and captures the area in 3D with a single light pulse. The light pulse is measured in picoseconds (extremely fast).

     

    This data is automatically uploaded into cloud storage.  Next, the data is processed using specialized software and the aggregate of the stockpile can be presented in a couple of minutes, including the perimeter, area and volume of each stockpile. More detailed information of the stockpile is then generated over the next few hours.

     

    Stockpile density and cost factors can be entered to calculate stockpile weight and value which is required for stockpile inventory reports. Even odd shaped stockpiles against walls can be measured using Time-of-Flight sensors.

     

    Using drones to measure stockpiles is big for many industries such as

     

    Mining

    Quarrying

    Agriculture

    Forestry and Logging

    Road Construction & Maintenance

    Railway Construction & Maintenance

    Here is an excellent article about Time-of-Flight cameras on drones. It is relatively new technology and has many terrific uses.

     

    Without using Time-of-Flight sensors, drones have been used with ordinary cameras by towns to count the wild cat and dog populations to see how big the problem is.  Another community used drones to fly over areas which had a big problem with illegal dumping of waste and was able to take action using this data.

     

    Drones Used For Search and Rescue (SAR)

    Drones are perfect to be used in all types of search and rescue such as;

     

    Finding missing persons

    Avalanche watch on ski slopes

    Surveying parks and knowing where hikers are located

    Searching and surveying disaster zones after earthquakes, flooding and hurricanes

    Fire departments are using drones to fly over burning building to see the full extent of the fire

    Thermals cameras on drones can be used to see the temperature a fire is generating even when it looks out

    Drones using thermal cameras can be used during the night to find missing persons and also work in disaster zones

    The DJI Inspire 1 is being used in many SAR operations as it can be fitted with the Flir Thermal Cameras and has options for zoom cameras.

     

     

     

    Drones Used For Weather Patterns

    In areas affected by Tornadoes, researchers are working with drones to measure the lower atmosphere.  They hope to be able to give earlier warning announcements well before the Tornado strikes.  Oklahoma Researchers are expecting weather drones to help forecasters predict weather patterns more precisely allowing tornado warnings to be given anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes earlier.

     

    Presently, meteorologists use radar, satellites and balloons to check conditions in the upper and middle atmosphere. However, conditions at the lower atmosphere where we live are observed by instruments and people which puts their lives at risk.

     

    Drones Used For Conservation And Environment

    Drone Uses In Conservation And EnvironmentDrones and it’s sensor data driven technology have a wide range of conservation and environmental protection applications. From glacial feature modeling and erosion monitoring to animal counting and species identification, the list of projects which drones are being used for is long and continues to grow.

     

    There are many reasons why professionals such as environmental engineers and scientific researchers are increasingly using drones. The benefits to using drones in environmental and conservation projects is many.  Here is just a few of the types of conservation and environmental projects were drones are being used;

     

    Animal Management & Conservation

    Nest surveys

    Migration tracking

    Habitat management

    Species identification

    Perimeter assessment

    Animal/flock counting

    Camera trap image retrieval

    Vessel monitoring (e.g. whaling ships)

    Anti-poaching activities (identification, deterrence)

    Animal tracking (e.g. via radio tracker collars/triangulation)

    Plant Conservation

    Soil property & moisture analysis

    Growth/coverage monitoring

    Plant health/stress analysis

    Species identification

    Biomass estimation

    Plant/tree counting

    Forestry Conservation

    Forest mapping

    Biomass estimation

    Fire detection & tracking

    Vegetation health analysis

    Storm damage assessment

    Planting / re-planting campaign planning

    Deforestation / illegal logging / farming / incursion monitoring

    Change Monitoring

    Pre and post comparisons of storms and landslides

    Monitoring coastal and  soil erosion

    Forest degradation

    Glacial dynamics

    Terrain Modeling

    Volcano craters

    Glacial features

    River banks

    Morphology

    Cliff faces

    Beaches

    Coastal Management

    Volume estimation

    Erosion monitoring

    Storm damage assessment

    Beach replenishment planning

    River & flood assessment

    Aerial assessment of flood damage

    River mapping & modeling

    Flood defense planning

    Water-flow simulation

    Erosion monitoring

    River surveys

    Earthwork And Rock Face Management

    3D modeling

    Control screen inspection

    Crack / unstable area detection

    Rock fall assessment

    Project planning

    Regulation Enforcement

    Illegal activity detection & monitoring

    Compliance monitoring (e.g. over fishing, illegal logging and entry into protected areas etc.)

    Drones Used For Environmental And Conservation Works

    One of the big names and most popular drones for use in environment and conservation work is the SenseFly eBee. It is a long range drone and can carry multiple sensors such as RGB cameras, Near-infrared (NIR), red-edge (RED), multispectral and also thermal cameras.

     

     

     

    There are many other drones which can also do this work. If you know your project completely, then you will know the type of drone and sensors which you need for the project.

     

    Drones Used For Insurance 

    Insurance companies are now using drones to help access damage to buildings from fire, flooding or from heavy winds.  Drones may also be used to fly over car and rail accidents to also access the damage and to assist with the claims process.

     

    Accessing damage to buildings and structures

    Maybe be used around accident areas to also access damage costs

    Insurance companies are also now starting to insure commercial drones

    Drones Used For Policing

    Drones are far more cheaper and are more widely available than police helicopters.  You will definitely see more drones being used by police forces in the following ways;

     

    Survey and assist with crowd management at concerts and demonstrations

    Aerial views to assist with investigations into car and rail crashes

    Help as part of search and rescue to find missing persons

    Used in search and rescue in natural disaster areas

    May be used as part of community watch

    Drones Used For Sports

    Drones are finding their way into so many aspects of sports.  Here is just a few way drones are being used in sports;

     

    American Football teams analyzing strategy and play

    Drone racing league race events supported by ESPN

    Assisting athletes to analyse their running techniques

    Filming of extreme sporting events in scenic locations

    Excellent for filming water skiing and big wave surfing

    FIA World Rally Championships’ filmed for WRC+ TV


    your comment
  •  Whether you call them Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Miniature Pilotless Aircraft or Flying Mini Robots, drones are rapidly growing in popularity. They are still in the infancy stage in terms of mass adoption and usage, but drones have already broken through rigid traditional barriers in industries which otherwise seemed impenetrable by similar technological innovations.

     

    Over the past few years, drones have become central to the functions of various businesses and governmental organizations and have managed to pierce through areas where certain industries were either stagnant or lagging behind. From quick deliveries at rush hour to scanning an unreachable military base, drones are proving to be extremely beneficial in places where man cannot reach or is unable to perform in a timely and efficient manner.

     

    Increasing work efficiency and productivity, decreasing workload and production costs, improving accuracy, refining service and customer relations, and resolving security issues on a vast scale are a few of the top uses drones offer industries globally. Adoption of drone technology across industries leapt from the fad stage to the mega-trend stage fairly quickly as more and more businesses started to realize its potential, scope, and scale of global reach.

     

    Whether drones are controlled by a remote or accessed via a smartphone app, they possess the capability of reaching the most remote areas with little to no manpower needed and require the least amount of effort, time, and energy. This is one of the biggest reasons why they are being adopted worldwide, especially by these four sectors: Military, Commercial, Personal, and Future Technology.

     

    Drone Technology History and Today's Uses

    Drones have been around for more than two decades, but their roots date back to World War I when both the U.S. and France worked on developing automatic, unmanned airplanes. But the last few years have been significant in terms of drone adoption, usage expansion across industries, and global awareness.

     

    From technically manning sensitive military areas to luring hobbyists throughout the world, drone technology has developed and prospered in the last few years. Individuals, commercial entities, and governments have come to realize that drones have multiple uses, which include:

     

    Aerial photography for journalism and film

    Express shipping and delivery

    Gathering information or supplying essentials for disaster management

    Thermal sensor drones for search and rescue operations

    Geographic mapping of inaccessible terrain and locations

    Building safety inspections

    Precision crop monitoring

    Unmanned cargo transport

    Law enforcement and border control surveillance

    Storm tracking and forecasting hurricanes and tornadoes

    Development of hundreds of more uses of drones are underway due to the multiple investments pouring into this promising industry everyday.

     

    Military Drone Technology

    Military usage of drones has become the primary use in today's world. Used as target decoys, for combat missions, research and development, and for supervision, drones have been part and parcel of the military forces worldwide.

     

     

    According to a recent report by Goldman Sachs, military spending will remain the main driver of drone spending in the coming years. Goldman estimates that global militaries will spend $70 billion on drones by 2020, and these drones will play a vital role in the resolution of future conflicts and in the replacement of the human pilot.

     

    Military spending also tends to come in larger increments, as a single US Predator drone costs approximately $4 million, and total spending for the program is estimated at a total of almost $2.4 billion.

     

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles will continue to be applied in various military operations due to their high convenience in reducing losses and enabling the execution of high profile and time-sensitive missions.

     

    Commercial Drone Technology

    Commercial usage of drones is gaining steady momentum and has become the talk of the hour, as multiple industries are working with drones as part of their daily regular business functions. The market for commercial and civilian drones will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19% between 2015 and 2020, compared with 5% growth on the military side, according to BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service.

     

    The commercial drone industry is still young, but it has begun to see some consolidation and major investments from industrial conglomerates, chip companies, IT consulting firms, and major defense contractors. For now, the industry leaders are still a handful of early-stage manufacturers in Europe, Asia, and North America.

     

     

    As it becomes cheaper to customize commercial drones, the door will be opened to allow new functionality in a wide array of niche spaces. Sophisticated drones could soon be doing everyday tasks like fertilizing crop fields on an automated basis, monitoring traffic incidents, surveying hard-to-reach places, or even delivering pizzas.

     

    At the end of the day, the impact of commercial drones could be $82 billion and a 100,000 job boost to the U.S. economy by 2025, according to AUVSI.

     

    Top Industries Using Drones Chart

    BI Intelligence

    Personal Drone Technology

    As the sales of the civilian drones rise, the safety concerns surrounding them among regulators and law enforcement agencies also tend to go up, seeing the past of drone collisions with airplanes and crashes into crowded stadiums. A Lobbying group, Consumer Technology Association expects 2.8 million consumer drones will be sold in the United States in 2016/17 and revenue will reach $953 million.

     

    BI Intelligence expects sales of drones to top $12 billion in 2021. And no small amount of that will come from the sale of personal drones used for film-making, recording, still photography and gaming by common tech-savvy enthusiasts.

     

    Consumers will however, spend $17 billion on drones over the next few years. Drones come in all shapes and sizes, from small and inexpensive single-rotor devices to large, $1,000+ quadcopters with GPS, multiple camera arrays, and first-person control. While primarily aimed at hobbyists, these types of devices are widely available and the market is growing.

     

    Future Drone Technology

    Drone technology is constantly evolving, so future drone tech is currently undergoing groundbreaking progressive improvement. According to airdronecraze, an Amazon Services LLC affiliate advertising program website, drone technology has seven potential generations, and the majority of current technology sits in the fifth and sixth generations.

     

    Here is the breakdown of the technology generations:

     

    Generation 1: Basic remote control aircraft of all forms

    Generation 2: Static design, fixed camera mount, video recording and still photos, manual piloting control

    Generation 3: Static design, two-axis gimbals, HD video, basic safety models, assisted piloting

    Generation 4: Transformative designs, Three-axis gimbals, 1080P HD video or higher-value instrumentation, improved safety modes, autopilot modes.

    Generation 5: Transformative designs, 360° gimbals, 4K video or higher-value instrumentation, intelligent piloting modes.

    Generation 6: Commercial suitability, safety and regulatory standards based design, platform and payload adaptability, automated safety modes, intelligent piloting models and full autonomy, airspace awareness

    Generation 7: Complete commercial suitability, fully compliant safety and regulatory standards-based design, platform and payload interchangeability, automated safety modes, enhanced intelligent piloting models and full autonomy, full airspace awareness, auto action (takeoff, land, and mission execution)

    The next generation of drones, Generation 7, is already underway, as 3DRobotics announced the world's first all-in-one Smart Drone called Solo. Smart drones with built-in safeguards and compliance tech, smart accurate sensors, and self-monitoring are the next big revolution in drone technology that would provide new opportunities in transport, military, logistics, and commercial sectors.

     

     

    As these technologies continue to evolve and grow, drones will become safer and more dependable. This would allow for their subsequent mass adoption, provided the strict USFAA legislation surrounding drone technology and usage is loosened to some degree.

     

    More to Learn

     

    The technological potential with drones is immense, and its uses will only grow with time. That's why BI Intelligence has spent months compiling the greatest and most detailed collection on drone technology called The Drones Report: Market Forecasts, key players and use cases, and regulatory barriers to the proliferation of drones.


    your comment
  • drone (unmanned aerial vehicle, UAV)

     

    A drone, in technological terms, is an unmanned aircraft. Drones are more formally known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aircraft systems (UASes). Essentially, a drone is a flying robot that can be remotely controlled or fly autonomously through software-controlled flight plans in their embedded systems, working in conjunction with onboard sensors and GPS.

     

     

    In the recent past, UAVs were most often associated with the military, where they were used initially for anti-aircraft target practice, intelligence gathering and then, more controversially, as weapons platforms. Drones are now also used in a wide range of civilian roles ranging from search and rescue, surveillance, traffic monitoring, weather monitoring and firefighting, to personal drones and business drone-based photography, as well as videography, agriculture and even delivery services.

     

    The history of drones

    Many trace the history of drones to 1849 Italy, when Venice was fighting for its independence from Austria. Austrian soldiers attacked Venice with hot-air, hydrogen- or helium-filled balloons equipped with bombs.

     

    The first pilotless radio-controlled aircraft were used in World War I. In 1918, the U.S. Army developed the experimental Kettering Bug, an unmanned "flying bomb" aircraft, which was never used in combat.

     

    The first generally used drone appeared in 1935 as a full-size retooling of the de Havilland DH82B "Queen Bee" biplane, which was fitted with a radio and servo-operated controls in the back seat. The plane could be conventionally piloted from the front seat, but generally it flew unmanned and was shot at by artillery gunners in training. The term drone dates to this initial use, a play on the "Queen Bee" nomenclature.

     

    UAV technology continued to be of interest to the military, but it was often too unreliable and costly to put into use. After concerns about the shooting down of spy planes arose, the military revisited the topic of unmanned aerial vehicles. Military use of drones soon expanded to play roles in dropping leaflets and acting as spying decoys.

     

    Military drone use solidified in 1982 when the Israeli Air Force used UAVs to wipe out the Syrian fleet with minimal loss of Israeli forces. The Israeli UAVs acted as decoys, jammed communication and offered real-time video reconnaissance.

     

    Drones have continued to be a mainstay in the military, playing critical roles in intelligence, surveillance and force protection, artillery spotting, target following and acquisition, battle damage assessment and reconnaissance, as well as for weaponry.

     

    Modern drone history

    A Wall Street Journal report claims widespread drone use began in 2006 when the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency introduced UAVs to monitor the the U.S. and Mexico border.

     

    In late 2012, Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired magazine, retired to dedicate himself to his drones company, 3D Robotics, Inc. (3DR). The company, which started off specializing in hobbyist personal drones, now markets its UAVs to aerial photography and film companies, construction, utilities and telecom businesses, and public safety companies, among others.

     

    In late 2013, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced a plan to use commercial drones for delivery activities. However, in July 2016, Reno-based startup Flirtey beat Amazon to the punch, successfully delivering a package to a resident in Nevada via a commercial drone. Other companies have since followed suit. For example, in September 2016, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University began a test with Project Wing, a unit of Google owner Alphabet, Inc., to make deliveries, starting with burritos produced at a local Chipotle restaurant. Then in December 2016, Amazon delivered its first Prime Air package in Cambridge, England. In March of 2017, it demonstrated a Prime Air drone delivery in California.

     

     

    Flying burrito delivery at Virginia

    Tech? Chipotle's testing it.

    Drone education is also expanding; Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, long a training ground for the aviation industry, now offers a Bachelor of Science in unmanned systems applications, a Master of Science in unmanned systems and an undergraduate minor in unmanned aerial systems.

     

    Commercial and enterprise drone applications

    The use of drones outside the military has grown tremendously over the past decade. Beyond surveillance and delivery applications, UAVs are used in drone journalism, search and rescue, disaster response, asset protection, wildlife monitoring, firefighting, communications relay, healthcare and agriculture.

     

    The integration of drones and internet of things (IoT) technology has created numerous enterprise use cases. Drones working with on-ground IoT sensor networks can help agricultural companies monitor land and crops; energy companies survey power lines and operational equipment; and insurance companies monitor properties for claims and policies.

     

    A 2015 experiment in Austin, Texas, showed how drones can potentially "connect the dots" using IoT. A security tech company teamed up with a drone startup to hunt for Zigbee beacons to try to provide an overview of what IoT networks were present in residential and business areas of the city. The companies reported that the results were quick and instructive.

     

    From logistics to agriculture to security, unmanned aerial vehicles and IoT are frequently part of the same discussion; offering a component in ubiquitous connectivity and interactivity.

     

    Types of drones

    Drone platforms have two main types: rotor, including single-rotor or multi-rotor (such as tricopters, quadcopters, hexacopters and octocoptors), or fixed-wing, which include the hybrid VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) drones that don't require runways.

     

    Drones can be categorized as either personal/hobbyist or commercial/enterprise.

     

    Drones can be equipped with a number of sensors, including distance sensors (ultrasonic, laser, lidar), time-of-flight sensors, chemical sensors, and stabilization and orientation sensors, among others. Visual sensors offer still or video data, with RGB sensors collecting standard visual red, green and blue wavelengths, and multispectral sensors collecting visible and non-visible wavelengths, such as infrared and ultraviolet. Accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers, barometers and GPS are also common drone features.

     

    For example, thermal sensors can be integral in surveillance or security applications, such as livestock monitoring or heat-signature detection. Hyperspectral sensors can help identify minerals and vegetation, and are ideal for use in crop health, water quality and surface composition.

     

    Many personal drones are now available for consumer use, offering HD video or still camera capabilities, or to simply fly around. These drones often weigh anywhere from less than a pound to 10 pounds.

     

    Stronger, more capable drones are also available for use in commercial settings. For example, Insitu, a Boeing company, offers the ScanEagle, which has a 10-foot wingspan and weighs 35 pounds. The company also builds the Integrator, an 80-pound aircraft with a 16-foot wingspan. Insitu drones do not take off from runways, as an airplane would; rather they are VTOL as they take off and are recovered from the company's SkyHook launchers. Sensors available include electro-optic imagers, mid-wave infrared imagers, infrared markers and laser rangefinders.

     

    In 2018, Boeing announced it had prototyped an unmanned electric VTOL cargo air vehicle (CAV) capable of transporting up to a 500-pound payload.

     

    Tethered drones are another option, though with the obvious limitation that they are physically tethered to a base station. Certain tethered drones can solve the challenge many drones face when it comes to power supply if the tether provides a direct power supply. The Safe-T tethering station for drones from Elistair, for example, offers 2.5 kW power and can fly to heights of more than 200 feet, with data transfer rates of up to 200 Mb/s.

     

    Commercial drone manufacturers include:

     

    3D Robotics

    DJI

    Elistair

    Hubsan

    Identified Technologies

    Insitu

    Measure

    Parrot

    PrecisionHawk

    Yuneec

    UAV reception and drone regulations

    Rapid adoption of drones over the past decade has sparked a number of privacy, security and safety complaints and concerns. From a privacy standpoint, voyeurs and paparazzi have used drones to obtain images of individuals in their homes or other locations once assumed to be private. Drones have also been deployed in areas deemed potentially unsafe, such as urban areas and near airports.

     

    Growth in commercial and personal drones has also created safety concerns, namely midair collisions and loss of drone control. Specific concerns about drones flying too close to commercial aircraft have prompted calls for regulation.

     

    While many countries have established UAV regulations, others have not. As drone usage grows in popularity, laws are continually changing. Before using a drone commercially or personally, it is critical to check the laws of the country in which they are being operated.

     

    In China, for example, any drone flying higher than 400 feet requires a license from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). Drones weighing in at more than 15 pounds also require a license, and no-fly zones must be adhered to.

     

    In the UK, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) restricts drones from flying above 500 feet. Additionally, any drone weighing more than a half pound must be registered with the CAA. The organization has also published its "Dronecode:"

     

    Don't fly near airports or airfields

    Remember to stay below 400 feet and at least 150 feet away from buildings and people

    Observe your drone at all times

    Never fly near aircraft

    Enjoy responsibly

    Until 2006, the use of commercial drones were illegal under U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, which said non-commercial flights below 400 feet were permitted only if operators followed Advisory Circular 91-57, Model Aircraft Operating Standards, published in 1981.

     

    In 2005, the FAA issued its first guidelines on UAVs and later issued its first commercial drone permit in 2006. A drone operation policy was then published in 2007. Later, the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 was released, which included Section 333, under which the U.S. Secretary of Transportation could approve commercial drone use on a case-by-case basis.

     

    By 2014, only two companies in the U.S. were allowed to operate commercial drones. In 2015, an interim FAA policy governing the use of small drones for certain commercial uses under 200 feet was released, and the FAA announced it had approved more than 1,000 applications for commercial drones and continues to approve at a rate of approximately 50 applications per week. The next year, the FAA further relaxed its restrictions, and under its Small Unmanned Aircraft Regulation, Part 107, issued 3,100 drone permits in 2016 alone.

     

    Part 107 places limits on autonomous or semi-autonomous drone operation. Among other things, the FAA specifically mandates:

     

    Unmanned aircraft must remain within visual line-of-sight of the remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls of the small UAS, or, alternately within VLOS of the visual observer;

    Drones must at all times remain close enough to the remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls for those people to be capable of seeing the aircraft unaided by any device other than corrective lenses;

    UAVs may not operate over anyone not directly participating in the operation, under a covered structure or inside a covered stationary vehicle;

    Daylight-only operations, or civil twilight (30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset, local time) with appropriate anti-collision lighting;

    Must yield right of way to other aircraft.

    On October 5, 2018, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 was signed, which establishes new conditions for recreational use of drones. FAA rules differ for personal or commercial drone use. For example, a Remote Pilot Certificate issued by the FAA is required to fly drones commercially and commercial UAVs must be registered and flown at or under 100 mph.

     

    Drone use laws also vary by state. For example, Alaska laws limit the use of drones in law enforcement, including how and whether they can save drone-captured images and video. Cities and towns with more than one public park in Arizona must permit drone use in at least one of them. A Minnesota law requires commercial drone operators to pay a commercial operations license and hold drone insurance.

     

    Future outlook

    Predictions for the drone market are both aggressive and optimistic.

     

     A 2016 Business Insider BI Intelligence report forecasted drone revenues to reach $12 billion in 2021, with the growth of enterprise drone use to outpace the consumer drone sector in both shipments and revenues by 2021, reaching 29 million shipments worldwide.

     

     

    PricewaterhouseCoopers has valued the drone-based businesses service market at more than $127 billion, with the top industries being infrastructure at $45.2 billion, agriculture at $32.5 billion and transportation at $13.0 billion.

     

    In terms of economic impact, the association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) predicts the drone industry will create more than 100,000 U.S. jobs and add $82 billion to the U.S. economy by 2025.

     

    Goldman Sachs predicts a $100 billion market for drones between 2016 and 2020, with the military making up the bulk of it with $70 billion spending. Consumer drones will take a $17 billion share of that market, with commercial and civil government use making up $13 billion. Breaking that down, the construction industry is expected to spend $11.164 million on applications such as surveying, building inspection and monitoring, and agriculture at $5.922 million on applications including health monitoring, soil scanning and yield estimates. Other top industries include insurance claims, offshore oil and gas, and refining, U.S. police, fire, Coast Guard and Customer and Border Protection, journalism, real estate and utilities.


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