Written by: Austin Sandmeyer
Our entertainment, crops, packages and emergency response could soon fly above us. And wildly enough, it isn’t as far out as we think. The technology is available, and it’s only getting better and better. Many in the entrepreneurship community believe that financial, regulatory, and economic constraints are one of the best ways to create world-changing ideas. The drone industry has taken this to heart, and despite the restrained pace of politics and bureaucracy surrounding it, there is no shortage of innovation. Drone leaders are converging in Fargo next month at Drone Focus to share and connect on the progress the industry has made and the vibrant future ahead of it.
So what does the drone industry even look like? Let’s look at a few diverse and exciting pieces inside the industry today.
The Drone Racing League
The picture above isn’t a joke, this is a sport. Drone Racing is taking the world by storm alongside the new wave of e-sports. The Drone Racing League is a blooming entertainment sport that focuses on high-speed drones running through obstacles and massive structures in a season format that resembles Nascar. There’s an excitement that comes with watching machines battle against each other moving at speeds up to 120 mph. They making crucial turns and face sure destruction, and as a result, they have landed sponsorships with impressive brands such as Allianz and Bud Light and publishing distribution deals with ESPN and TBS.
Crops are Thriving
The agriculture world is implementing drones in nearly every process, and is changing the dynamic in today’s competitive environment. Simply put, Drones are revolutionizing agriculture and in turn, revolutionizing the way we get our food. From creating effective and efficient spraying routes to monitoring crops and ensuring proper irrigation and health checks drones are empowering our food chain.
Crop monitoring is crucial to understanding everything from moisture content and pesticide needs, to ensuring the crops overall health. Before drones, satellite imagery was required to make this possible. Timeliness, cost, scheduling, and many other barriers make satellite imagery a relatively poor alternative. Throw an agriculture drone into the picture and you get a real-time understanding of the health and profitability of your crops.
It’s time to deliver.
The drone delivery industry is sparking with passion over tense regulations, and to them, it’s make it or break it. The tight restrictions the FAA currently holds on the drone industry stifles their market opportunity and allows competitors to increase their technology and their competitive advantage. Imagine what the drone delivery industry looks like right now…
Amazon, Google, UPS and a handful of large delivery companies are in competition with bustling startups as the FAA has been holding them back from achieving economies of scale and dominating the market. From the consumer perspective, it’s potentially creating a surplus of options which could flood the market and drive prices down one day. But let’s not kid ourselves that logistic delivery is anything but simple. There are more moving parts than one can even imagine and drones are one of those.
But nevertheless, delivery is an important piece of the drone story that will soon be told. Take a peek at Amazon Prime Air’s vision for the future. (And in some countries, it’s not just a vision it’s a slow reality.)
Drone Delivery in the US is still regulated, but the technology and innovation around it is ready to roll. It will constantly be pushing itself forward and into our world. We’ve seen other tech companies play hard-ball with the federal government, and I’d imagine that with or without the FAA, there will be a tipping point. I believe delivery could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. (It’s potentially too lucrative not too.)
Emergency Eyes in the Sky
The area that I personally would like to see drones implemented is in emergency response. Drones have started changing the face of humanitarian aid, but being the first responders and allowing emergency response units to have eyes in the sky and better understand the situation that they are coming upon could be crucial.
The ability to properly assess an emergency situation at the push of a button could save first responders, fire fighters, police, and civilians’ lives while also providing useful information to professionals on the way.
The future is wild and always changing but the implementation and innovation around drones will undoubtedly be an instrumental chapter in the story of technology. From entertainment to delivery, the drone story is only just beginning. It’s future and key leaders will be driving forward thoughts and developments in just a couple months at the 3rd Annual Drone Focus Conference in Fargo, ND. Be sure to grab your ticket and help spearhead this amazing change agent that is the drone Industry.