Some Views of Where the Commercial Drone Industry Will Go in 2016
Rosalie Bartlett begins with a few links to how drones were used commercially in 2015 – power grid inspections, FAA drone delivery, killer whale monitoring, mining site safety and efficiency monitoring, real estate marketing, and more. She then lists a series of quotes from her survey of Commercial Drone Industry people. The survey asked the industry what we will see more of and less of in 2016 and what they’re most excited about. To give a sense of the survey response, Bartlett pulls some of the responses and quotes them. Below are a few of those quotes summarised.
@theUAVguy (Kextrel LLC) hopes the FAA NPRM will become law as it takes away the pilot licence requirement barrier. He believes a key next step is a new line of better quality commercial fixed wing drones that have lightweight low cost carbon composites and efficient 50 minute flight times with easy take off and landing. He believes the industry needs to accept “the NAS rules and become professionals” in order to be “accepted by manned aviation”, which will require flight training schools, maintenance shops, flight plans and maintenance record paperwork. All are key barriers to hobbyist entry so that commercial market numbers can keep growing steadily as they are in Australia.
Helen Greiner (CyPhy Works) states that Asian companies and US Brands will start to establish market share in 2016 and that user experience/design will be a customer focus over learning a new technology.
“drones will be better equipped to detect and avoid objects, and fly safely within close proximity of structures.”
Jean-Christophe Zufferey (senseFly) believes sensor technology will be the difference maker in 2016 as “drones will be better equipped to detect and avoid objects, and fly safely within close proximity of structures.” The result of proving this enhanced safety will allow retailers like Amazon as well as precision agriculture to get “one step closer to realising the full potential of the technology.”
Emmanuel de Maistre (Redbird) believes data analytics will help push drones into “a new phase”. Conversely, Nathaniel Milner (Flier Group Inc) believes not much will change in 2016 and Kiat Oboler, Esq (Unmanned Aviation Group, LLC) foresees lots of litigation and “massive data integration problems.” With a few dissenters, the prevailing message from Bartlett’s quotes is that 2016 will bring technical advancements and more standardised expertise which will allow commercial drones to be cheaper, more reliable, safer, and used in more ways in a larger diversity of industries. Coupled with the broader use of drones by hobbyists and consumers, this could lead to a broader acceptance of commercial drones by media and customers.
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