The future of consumer drones and UAVs
While some people see consumer drones as an unwarranted intrusive glimpse into their personal lives others see it as a glimpse into the future, a freedom that cannot be ignored and one that should be explored to its limits.
Consumer Drones or UAVs as we know are unmanned aircraft that are controlled or driven with a controller, while some are flown indoors others are capable of exploring the sky close to home to its entirety, since outer space is the final frontier.
An apple Ad once proclaimed that, “technology alone is not enough”. And in the area where consumer drones are concerned I am forced to agree that when we go beyond technology everything becomes magical. With the iPad, the notion of going beyond technology meant designing a computer so easy to use that the apps took center stage in almost everything. But the result was in some sense rather counterproductive because we have become so engrossed with our phones and tablets that technology is actually getting in the way of the real world out there.
Nevertheless, it’s not going to be like that forever. In talking to leaders from some of the most innovative companies in consumer electronics, it’s clear that the next five years or more will represent an attempt to bring us back to reality. Though this may seem paradoxical, but a proliferation of wearable devices, smart-home gizmos, smart cameras, and augmented-reality systems will exist largely to save us from our screens.
After about two months of tech advances at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show, CES2015,which took place in Las Vegas, consumer drones have suddenly taken the lead in mesmerizing not only an apt public with tech tricks, but also tech companies with serious interest in new appliances in a wide range of production sectors. The organization this year has designated a specific area for drones, due to the rapid increase of developers who have found drone niches in diverse areas, from sporting events, cinematography, to agriculture and rescue missions.
Intel one of the popular tech giants in the industry has announced a set of improvements and startups that are designed to increase software performance and portable solutions for unmanned aircrafts. According to Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich, “The increase of new experiences in personal computers, smart and connected devices, and the revolution of visible technology are redefining the relationship between consumers and technology itself.
Though the military has been using high-tech drones for years but now small consumer grade drones are affordable and camera mount capable. They are already being used in agriculture for monitoring crops, recreation by sport lovers, aerial photography and even roof inspection. Even at that it doesn’t still scratch the surface of the potential of tech drones as new uses are being developed daily at incredible speed. These untapped potential is mind-boggling even to those who work with drones on daily instances.
Dr. Paul Orkwis, head of the UC Aerospace Engineering Department, said that, “As soon as you realize what’s possible, there will be five other people who can realize, ‘I can do something else with this.’”
Though the Federal Aviation Administration is expected to have guidelines in place by 2015 concerning drone regulations, and till then, there are no commercial uses approved by the FAA either. However, this lack of regulation has done little to stop use of drones as more and more people are everyday finding different capabilities and tech tricks to maximize its usage and ability. The FAA though is getting more involved. First, the moviemakers’ process offers a template for others seeking permission and the FAA may expand the approach to other industries too, Dombroff says. Second, broader regulations are due in 2015.
“Every new technology initially carries questions of whether it will be used for good or for evil,” Evans says. “Eventually, use of almost every new technology is properly regulated and allowed. This will happen soon with drones. They enrich too many lives.”
According to Nick Woodman, the CEO and founder of GoPro when interviewed at the CES show, “There needs to be some regulation to keep it safe, but we need room to allow the industry to blossom. It’s easy to focus on how things can go wrong, but we need to make sure we allow things to go right. A drone with a GoPro is much safer than a helicopter with a crew and a large heavy camera.”
Consumer drones will create jobs
The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) has predicted that “The economic impact of the integration of UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS) will total about more than $13.6 billion in the first three years.” This money means jobs, too as the Integration into the NAS will create a total of more than 34,000 manufacturing jobs and more than 70,000 new jobs in the economy” overall in those same three years. AUVSI predicts that between 2015 and 2025 those jobs will grow to over 100,000 and the market to $82.1 Billion.
“The consumer space is going to explode,” predicts Peter George, the vice president of sales and marketing for Paris-based Parrot, the top maker of consumer drones. It has shipped more than 750,000 drones since its first quadcopter in 2010, and George says that the company won’t be surprised if shipments were to double annually for the next five years. The company expects to sell about 200,000 this year.
Though people may remain biased for different reasons, these figures are all data based and not mere assumptions. Since, we have more accessories readily available faster than the companies which manufacture these drones because inventory is unnecessary where 3D Printing is concerned. The drone part designers test on their various vehicles, iterating quicker than anyone else can. There are already over 1,000 unique consumer drone parts for sale on Shapeways, and I predict that these number grows to over 2500 over the next one year.
With more and more people from different walks of life and careers falling in love with this product there is no shortage of imagination of where the future for consumer drones and UAVs lie. The future of consumer drones and UAVs seem to be set in stone as more and more people believe that drones enable us tell stories, there is still much to learn and much to tell.