Anyone interested in drones will know that they are big business, with the likes of Amazon, Google and Apple all investing in UAV technology. Over the next few years the drone industry is predicted to boom into a $100 billion market, and by 2030 a staggering one billion drones could be flying above our heads.
But if you think the future of drones is just package delivery and cool aerial footage then think again.
RS Components has created a graphic revealing the most exciting drones currently being developed in key global industries from transport and healthcare to security and entertainment. So take a look at the flying taxis, pollinating drone bees and UAV lifeguards set to revolutionise life as we know it.
See also: Drone laws UK – Karen Holden, founder of A City Law Firm, outlines the current regulations are and what they mean for businesses.
Drone technology is predicted to replace $13 billion worth of labour and business services in the transport industry by 2020. This year forward-thinking company Volocopter will be trialling their two seater drone taxis in Dubai. These autonomous drones, which have top speeds of 100km/h, will fly passengers on predetermined routes throughout the city and kickstart a drone transport revolution.
The media have already cashed in on the entertainment value of drones with global broadcaster Sky investing $1m into the Drone Racing League and channels such as Eurosport and Fox Sports showcasing the DR1 this year. But drone entertainment doesn’t stop at racing. Augmented Reality company Edgybees and electronics giant Epson have worked together to merge drones, AR gaming and smart glasses. Their immersive Drone Prix game projects a first-person vantage point from the drone’s camera onto a players smart lenses and challenges them to navigate their drone through a series of virtual obstacle courses.
Package delivery is probably the most popular prediction for drones in the retail and logistics industries, so it’s no surprise that companies such as Amazon, DHL and JD are all preparing for a drone future. Recently, retail giant Walmart released their futuristic delivery vision, submitting patent plans for an airborne warehouse that will fly at altitudes of 500 – 1000 ft and launch small delivery drones which will carry goods to the ground.
This year research from DJI, the world’s leading maker of unmanned aerial vehicles, revealed that drones had helped rescue 59 people from life-threatening situations around the world. A surf club at Muriwai Beach, New Zealand are currently trialling a ‘lifeguard drone’ which can help spot people in trouble within minutes, drop flotation devices and project the lifeguards voice, allowing them to talk through rescue procedures from the air.
The value of drone technology in agriculture is estimated to be worth $32.4 billion, with drones helping to monitor vast farmland, analyse soil and even herd cattle. Drone sensor technology currently in development can map 2.7million square miles in a single flight, that’s nearly the entire size of Australia. But researchers in Japan have gone one step further, creating insect-sized drones for artificial pollination. These tiny drones use horse hairs and sticky ionic gel to pick up pollen from one flower and deposit it into another.
Considering their military origins it’s no surprise that drones are tipped to play a huge role in future security. Armies all over the world are already investing heavily in drones and the UK recently launched its first ever 24/7 police drone unit. But it’s not just the military and police that can use drones for safety and security, you can too! Tech company Sunflower Labs are currently developing a home security system which can deploy a drone to patrol your home.
$11.1 billion is the estimated value of drone tech in construction but if you think the role of drones will simply be 3D mapping and structural inspections think again! Dr Mirko Kovac and his team at the department of aeronautics at Imperial College, London, are developing construction drones equipped with 3D printing technology that will excrete materials for use in building and repairing structures.
It’s clear that the game of drones has started, but which industry will take the throne? Check out this infographic from RS Components for more.