There are still major safety, technological, and legislative hurdles to the deployment of drones for commercial purposes. Even so, it’s a near certainty that drones will soon begin taking on a much larger role for businesses and consumers in their daily lives.
BI Intelligence predicts that 12% of an estimated $US98 billion in cumulative global spending on aerial drones over the next decade will be for commercial purposes.
In a recent report from BI Intelligence, we size the commercial and military drone market to estimate how big the drone industry could become, and which industries are most likely to see drones become part of their business model in the next few years.
Here are the major industries that could be transformed by drones first:
- Security and monitoring: Drones could complement or replace static security cameras. Security drones might also replace or supplement foot and vehicle patrols at large commercial facilities like factories, office parks, and power plants.
- Exploration, aid efforts, and disaster recovery: Drones and other robots could conduct searches to find lost vehicles or enter situations that are too difficult for humans.
- Delivery and Errands: Amazon may not be the only company to eventually use drones for carrying everyday items. Drones could be deployed to deliver items such as prescription drugs from pharmacies, meals from restaurants, and food from supermarkets.
- Logistics: On the other end of the spectrum, military contractors are already delivering more than 6,000 pounds of front-line supplies via aerial drone to remote locations in Afghanistan. This suggests that delivery via UAV isn’t limited by weight. Theoretically, large drones could travel between Amazon’s warehouses for use in inventory management, rather than just final customer fulfillment.
- Journalism, filmmaking, and photography: At the Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, students and professors already “explore how drones could be used for reporting.”
- Farming: The Environmental Protection Agency is apparently already using drone technology to monitor livestock farms, and some farmers will likely eventually begin using drones to manage agricultural crops.
In full, the report:
- Outlines the state of drones in terms of FAA regulations and explains when the regulatory agency expects to begin allowing commercial drones to fly.
- Sizes the market for drones and how much spending will go towards drones over the next 10 years.
- Discusses which industries are most likely to embrace drones and how drones could change the way these businesses function.
- Identifies the key manufacturers that will be working to upgrade their parts and technology to make them suitable for drones.
- Underscores the steep safety and privacy concerns facing commercial drones.
To access BI Intelligence’s full report on Drones, along with BI Intelligence’s in-depth coverage of the mobile, social, payments, and video industries, sign up for a free trial subscription here.
Commercial Drones On The Horizon
Find out why drones will soon begin taking on much larger roles for businesses and some individual consumers.
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Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.