We all know drones are the next big thing. The industry has grown immensely since drones became available to the large public. According to Mashable, the sales of consumer drones in 2015 were around 4 million units and are expected to hit 16 million by 2020. This clearly shows an inevitable trend is already here, and the numbers are only going to grow from now on. Having so many drones around us, people are starting to get more familiar with them and their usage becomes more and more diverse. Here are the top 10 facts about the drone industry as of right now:
1. Drone Racing is now a thing
Drone racing is a new sport, in which pilots are striving to fly around complex courses and obstacles as fast as possible. This usually happens with the help of FPV (First Person View) systems – this means the pilots are able to fly the drones from a distance using cameras and FPV goggles for more immersive experience, as if they’re sitting in the cockpit of the drone. The scoring is based on a combination of race time and passed checkpoints. Most drones are capable of flying with a speed of around 80mph (~128 km/h). It’s almost like a racing video game, only real drones are flying up and down in the air 🙂
For more information on drone racing you can check the video below:
2. Real Estate Drone Videography Is Booming
Studies show that more than 85% of real estate buyers use the Internet to search for their new home. This makes it perfect for the drone industry to be involved in the real estate market, as appealing images and videos are a must when it comes to internet sales. It’s much cheaper to fly a drone than to rent the next best alternative – a helicopter. You get the same birds-eye view, but you also get a lot of freedom to experiment with the way you want to shape your footage – viewing angles, speed, height – you can control everything according to your taste.
Now it’s easier than ever to fly over the house you’re selling and capture an amazing footage of the whole property and its surroundings. You can even fly your drone indoors and if you are using your imagination you’re set for a jaw-dropping commercial of your real estate just like this one:
Other businesses are also attracted by the drone industry. Just like farming:
3. Drones Can Be Used In Agriculture
Farmers all across the globe are starting to use drones in order to check the condition of their crops. Some of them are using drones equipped with infrared cameras to take photos of crops. The photos are ran through a computer to determine whether the fields have any areas, affected by pests or diseases. Using drone technology in agriculture could also help lowering the costs of chemicals – enabling the farmer to spot a problem area instead of spraying the entire field with the chemical.
In addition, drones in agriculture cost much cheaper than satellite imagery, provides better resolution and since the footage is taken under the clouds – does not depend on the weather as much.
Finally, a drone can monitor your crops on a regular basis, allowing you to spot changes and revealing trouble areas before issues arise.
4. They are more afforadble and easier to fly
Controlling a drone is still a huge fear for many people, as it’s an expensive piece of tech flying in the air. Fortunately, this problem slowly loses its importance. With so many drone manufacturers around, competition is fierce and drones are getting more afforadble than before. Now there are just so many models to choose from! So if you want to start flying and you don’t want to spend a fortune you can take a look at some of the best beginner/intermediate quadcopter drones for under $100 to start your flying hobby.
Furthermore, with the inclusion of the “auto-follow” feature, drones made another huge step forward. This feature allows non-experienced people to own a drone and to set it up to follow them (or an object) automatically.
To give you an example, The Phantom 4 has a beginner mode, where most operations are done automatically – you just have to select a point where you want to fly your drone and it gets there by itself. It even has collision detection, so in case there’s an obstacle on the way, the drone will safely fly over it.
Being able to fly a drone without any previous flying skills whatsoever is a major selling point and will undoubtedly increase the sales of drones in the very near future.
5. Drones are a huge part of the movie business
Using drones in movies is changing the way films are made. They are simpler and easier to control than the heavy movie equipment and also cost significantly less than crane shoots or helicopter shoots for example. Keeping the production costs down allows the film-makers to keep production in the country instead of outsourcing it elsewhere. Not only that, but drones allow producers to try and shoot in challenging set locations, where other movie equipment or a helicopter would have a hard time reaching. Last but not least, in action scenes where a lot of explostions take place, drones could be a life-saver – as there’s always a risk for the movie operators during dangerous stunts, they take their place and are also able to reach areas beyond people’s limits.
All this could be summarized in this stunning video clip below, in which you can see the Phantom Flex4k camera attached to an Aerigon UAV, reulting in the world’s first Ultra High Definition, 4K aerial drone footage.
6. Drones are changing humanitarian disaster relief
Having an aerial overview of the damaged area is crucial for planning a rescue operation or sending humanitarian aid in time. This is without a doubt one of the most positive drone applications. Drones are often used in case of tornados, hurricanes, floods and any other major disasters that might occur. When a crisis happen, aerial imagery can show where damage is greatest.
Drones can also identify the damaged locations and show if there are any blocked roads and who needs help most. Having the exact GPS location of people in danger and dispatch a rescue team accordingly is a huge benefit when it comes to rescuing people and saving lives. Time-saving and accuracy are the two most valuable aspects when it comes to disaster relief, and depending on the disaster, sometimes it can take days for the damage to be assessed or people to be rescued. Now, thanks to drones we can try and shrink that window and save human lives while doing so.
7. Drones are used for security
Ever since the drones became smarter, they also received more diverse applications – security is one of them. Because of their HD cameras, they are a great tool for mobile surveillance. In case you have a farm or a large area that you want to protect, a drone is a nice solution for reacting quickly to a possible threat. When an alarm/motion detector is activated, you can simply send your drone to the destination for a check. Many companies are also offering modifications for your drone, so you can install additional features such as speakers with voice warnings, tasers or even guns (drone weapons are legal in the US) on the body of the drone, depending on your needs.
8. Soon drones will deliver your packages straight to your house
By now everybody should have heard about Amazon Prime Air. It’s an upcoming service, which gives you the ability to receive your packages from Amazon straight in your backyard within 30 minutes (or less) of your order. According to Amazon, their delivery drones can reach an altitude of 400 feet and travel up to 15 miles away from their warehouse. The delivered package cannot be seen during flight, as it’s hidden in the body of the drone. After reaching the destination address, the package is then put on the ground and the drone leaves back to its warehouse.
The service has not launched yet, but it clearly shows the near future and the implementation of drones in yet another area of our lives.
9. Military and police drones are now a regular sight
Law enforcement agencies often use drones to find missing people or to monitor traffic accidents. Also, drones are often used when in need to reach dangerous areas and for additional protection. That includes not only high in the air above buildings and trees, but also into ongoing crime scenes.
One particular advantage of using drones in those situations is the ease with which they can be used. It takes only a short time to learn how to control the devices, thereby saving on costly training programmes. Moreover, a radio-controlled drone can be instantly ready for action, allowing for immediate air support.
However, it’s important to note that even though drones are increasingly used by the law enforcement, due to privacy concerns new laws require the police to obtain a search warrant before using a drone in a private property, except in emergencies.
10. Drones are more popular than ever
In 2015, world sales hit 4.3 million units, worth about $1.7 billion. That is a 167% jump in sales in just two years since 2013. Drone sales figures for 2016 are expected to reach even higher numbers. How much? We can’t really tell before the year’s over, but with some major drone releases such as the AirDog, the Phantom 4 and the upcoming GoPro Karma, I’m expecting new all-time highs.
One thing is for sure – this business is only expected to grow and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.