Beyond Google Wing & Package Delivery, here are 3 commercial areas that are creating the future of drones

Drone package deliveries and the future of drone technology

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Coinciding with the launch of Google Wing’s first public drone delivery service in Canberra this week, a recent clever but foreboding April Fools video of an Amazon blimp has done it’s best to ‘break the internet’. Whilst drone delivery is no doubt an incredible feat, we see, on a daily basis, that the applications for drones are more than delivering coffee, burritos, or your latest online shopping. Here are three other trends that really excite us – and that we think will play a large part in the future of drone technology.

Coinciding with the launch of Google Wing’s first public drone delivery service in Canberra this week, a recent clever but foreboding April Fools video of an Amazon blimp has done it’s best to ‘break the internet’. Whilst drone delivery is no doubt an incredible feat, we see, on a daily basis, that the applications for drones are more than delivering coffee, burritos, or your latest online shopping. Here are three other trends that really excite us – and that we think will play a large part in the future of drone technology.

1. The multifaceted power of LiDAR and onboard equipment

The main advantage of using a drone is that within minutes of takeoff and flight, the machine can gain access to clear perspectives and areas that are almost impossible to reach with manual or manned equipment. For that reason, the onboard equipment on drones is hugely important for capturing data and using it to create real business solutions. We are really excited about products that collect and analyse such insights, such as that of our original pay-as-you-fly customer – Airsight Australia – and their recently updated NextCore LiDAR scanner. The power of LiDAR is that its application is so multifaceted, and business use cases to grow at an exponential pace, from mining, to road and rail infrastructure, to construction and development.

2. The use of drones for surveillance, and law enforcement

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Image source: www.astralar.com

On March 15th, 2019, the FAA granted Chula Vista Police Department, in San Diego, California, one of the first beyond-visual line of site provisions in the United States. As the first program to use ‘Drones as a first responder’, the program has resulted in 50 incidents with no dispatch required. Whilst seemingly a small number, it needs to be considered that there have only been 500 callouts during that time. This provides an effective proof-of-concept for the power of drones for both surveillance and enforcement of the law. Further on the life-saving front, an interesting friend of ours, Astral AR, is developing a system that uses AI to identify and stop loaded guns. In future, the use of drones provides a unique capacity to extend law enforcement to prevention, an ability to respond in real-time, and develop increasingly sophisticated community safety systems.

3. Automating drone operations

As all drone operators around the world can attest, there are several different procedures that go into drone operations – from maintaining and preparing equipment, to transportation, to pre- and post-flight compliance procedures and the flight itself. Whilst each part of the process involves a human, the convergence of software and hardware is bringing about automation, and making autonomy a tangible possibility. Our good friend David Skinner at Bask Aerospace is developing a bespoke autonomous drone solution he calls the ‘Smart Hanger’, which automates the flight, landing and charging components of drone operation. Whilst drones are continuing to become more sophisticated and collect better insights, the capacity of the drone to operate effectively without human interference has the potential to truly unlock the power of the technology to create an exponential ROI.

As Google Wing and Amazon continue to capture the imagination of the internet, the drone industry is enabling an effective, sophisticated technology that is creating real societal impact, beyond Starbucks, groceries and your newest pair of shoes. Whether it be incredible business insights, saving lives, or freeing up time, money and resources for greater efficiency, there are a number of trends that are worth getting excited about, and are creating an extraordinary industry for the future.

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