The Business of Drones
Many businesses can now clearly see the benefits of using Drones in their commercial environments. Fuelled by the use of toy Quadcopter and Hexacopter drones, people from all over the Globe are coming up with innovative ideas for commercial drone usage. In the agriculture industry small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and drone businesses are learning what is required by farmers and adapting their offering according to the demand. DJI Innovations and 3DRobotics are the companies that are likely to prosper from the emerging Agridrone industry due to the low entry cost of their models. It’s a case of toy and hobby models becoming professional tools. The Oil Industry are one of the biggest customers for drones and UAV’s as substantial savings can be made by using these craft rather than sending out teams of personnel. In the Republic of Ireland the Irish Aviation Authority has issued permits to twenty two operators to use drones mostly for aerial surveying and photography.
Open source code, software development for ground stations, 3D Printing and complex algorithms will all play a part in future drone business developments. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology they are replacing state-estimation algorithms with neuromorphic sensors to develop avoidance software. The Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) is being developed by researcher Andrea Censi of MIT’s Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles running a new algorithm can update location every 0.001 sec to make extremely fast agile maneuvers. Developing Sense and Avoid Technology is is far from simple and development requires a multi-disciplined team and savvy problem solving innovators but the rewards are evident.
Drone Patents Individuals and companies involved can clearly see that the Drone Business is on the cusp of something really innovative, exciting and highly lucrative so patent applications will undoubtedly play a significant part in UAV Development. senseFly Ltd (A Swiss company owned by Parrot producers of hobby/commercial grade AR Drones ) already own a number of Aerial Robotic Patents and have patent applications pending. The European Commission have recently used the senseFly eBee Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to map landslide areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Microsoft recognized the amount of buzz being generated by drones and used an eBee mapping drone to show off the technology in its latest Surface Tablet.
Also located in Switzerland is Raffaello D’Andrea famed for his viral video ‘The Astounding Athletic Power of Quadcopters’. D’Andrea, Co-founder of Kiva systems a robotics and logistic company (Bought by Amazon) is Professor of Dynamic Systems and Control at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich and is researching and developing autonomous systems. ETH have a research-driven airspace ‘The Flying Machine Arena’ where flying vehicles teach themselves, and each other, how to fly.
It has been predicted by visiongain that worldwide sales of under twenty five kilogram unmanned aerial vehicles, will reach $1.33 Billion in 2014 and expects the market to see significant growth. The small UAV market is likely to become one of the most significant economic and technological stories of the modern age, according to visiongain.