Tim Leicest, 5th November 2018

Why Drones Could Become The Next Big Thing

Drones have evolved rapidly in the last decade. However, drones are not new and existed from the 1930s. The modern era of drones started after 2001, and it is now becoming part of our daily life. The drone industry is still evolving, but it makes sense to learn about this massive future industry as early as possible.

So, what comes next for drones? The answer depends on how artificial intelligence (A.I) can be used to make drones more useful. A.I. can help drones overcome the human limitation and make drones more useful in different sectors including industry, tech, delivery and so on. But, A.I. powered drones can also be used to kill humans, deliver drugs, spy on someone and the list of harmful things that can be done with drones goes on. We have to be careful with drones and especially with A.I. powered, but we shouldn't give up on them just because they can be harmful (like many other technologies that we've already adopted into our society by the way).

Drones can now be programmed to learn from mistakes. Learn to Fly by Crashing, a paper published by Carnegie Mellon University explores how AR drones 2.0 are learning by learning from their own mistakes. This is just one use case of how A.I. and big data are going to impact drones in future.

Companies betting on the drone industry

Another critical use case of drones that are going to evolve and get implemented is their use in the industry. Many big companies will use drones to inspect their infrastructure and send direct reports to the system. Furthermore, they are also equally useful for surveillance purposes. The delivery system will continue to be refined in future as currently, Amazon is testing the use of drones to improve the delivery system. Jeff Bezos, Founder & CEO of Amazon, says that the aim is to get items delivered in "60 minutes."

As Microsoft founder Bill Gates once said, "Drones overall will be more impactful than I think people recognize, in positive ways to help society." Microsoft is among the tech companies making a concerted push on UAS.

Some 300 companies - including such aviation and aerospace behemoths as General Electric, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman - are making substantial investments of time and resources in drones. So, it makes sense to think about this industry and its impact on our future.

How drones will impact society and economy and which industries they will disrupt:

Health Care: Modern medicine has had a profound impact on preventing disease, increasing life expectancy, and raising general standards of living. However, access to modern medicine has been rather difficult in many rural regions around the world. While medical supplies can be delivered by traditional means, certain circumstances call for quick access to drugs, blood, and medical technology - a need drones could fill.

One of the most prominent venture-backed medical delivery companies is Zipline International. Zipline has launched delivery drones in rural areas throughout Africa and continues to expand its reach.

Agriculture: With the use of drones, agricultural workers are able to gather data, automate redundant processes, and generally maximize efficiency.

Raptor Maps, a leader in agricultural analytics, relies on drones to help farmers better understand their potential harvest. After cultivating healthy crops, the process of harvesting is repetitive, time-consuming, and detail oriented. To address this, equipment manufacturer Case IH has built an autonomous tractor, while Abundant Robotics is developing a solution for autonomously picking produce. Planting crops can be an equally tedious and energy-intensive process, but companies like DroneSeed are tackling this problem at 350 feet per second.

Energy: While alternative energy has become increasingly popular, fossil fuels still remain the world's primary energy source. Inspection of the infrastructure used to extract, refine, and transport oil and gas is an important aspect of the industry. Regulation requires certain standards to minimize the risk of environmental damage.

With the use of drones, much of this inspection work can be done remotely and safely. Sky-Futures is a UAV company focused on oil and gas inspection, and is used by many of the world's largest oil companies to inspect offshore rigs.

There are many other industries drones will disrupt besides the Health Care, Energy and Agriculture industry. Other industries include Construction, Shipping, Transportation, Telecommunications, Mining, and the list goes on. Alone the Health Care, Energy and Agriculture industries are together a 4 trillion dollar industry (Here's the number: 4,000,000,000,000) drones could disrupt in the future.

The drone industry is relatively new, but when we start caring about the drone industry now, we could be rewarded in the future.
Some ways to get a foot in this disrupting industry is to invest in drone stocks or even start a company. There is a chance to participate in the drone revolution even without the big money by investing small sums in drone stocks. You might want to read the article "The 3 Most Promising Drone Stocks To Invest In Now".

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