The Expanding Drone Market
I think, looking back at my CloudTweaks posts that I have posted four distinct and different blogs on the concept of drones. I talked about the Pizza Delivery Drone, the modular drone concept and how to get ahead in drone advertising. Since my last drone related post almost a year ago, things have continued to evolve. The evolution has been three-fold. First off specialized function drones are exploding. You can now buy a drone that has an integrated metal detector. There are ROV’s (the market distinguishes a drone as something that flies and an ROV as something that operates underwater) on the market and that market continues to expand. Finally, there is the concept of multi-function drones, I call that category cross-over drones. They don’t just perform one function.
The interesting thing: crossover category
The interesting thing I would note is this. I’ve seen three different crowdfunding campaigns come onto the scenes at Kickstarter and Indiegogo involving interesting cross over drones. A cross over drone offers functionality to a specific purpose. Metal detectors and Sonar are interesting functional drones. They cross over to a different function and that is interesting. First off a drone with Metal section on built-in offers a lot of functionality for Utility Companies, and for treasure hunters or people searching the beach for coins. Although I do see a time in the future when beaches will ban drones. Can you image sunbathing on a beach only to find all the drones are blocking the sun? Plus imagine how many times the drone would hover over someone’s wallet. After all, you are looking for coins on the beach, right?
A cross over functional drone can do two things. In the case of an ROV, that would be to provide video back to the operator of ROV. The crossover functionality that has appeared is the ability to use and operate a hand to grab things and bring them to the surface. For aerial drones, the interesting crossover I’ve seen most often (but that has failed three times also) is that of fishing and flying drones. Combining sonar, with the ability to attach a fishing line and lure so you can literally fly over a school of fish and drop your line right in the middle.
From the last post here on CloudTweaks, until now, I’ve seen a number of interesting trends in the drone market. The new concept that everyone advertises is ‘follow me’.
If a drone were able to stay aloft for more than an hour, this feature would be a great security feature for runners and joggers. The problem is that drones are only able to stay aloft for 20-30 minutes today. I know personally, I like to exercise at least an hour if not more each day. A follow me while I work out drone wouldn’t be as useful if it had to go home, ½ way through my workout. Still, this market evolution is one that will continue to be interesting.
The next thing that is interesting to me is that crossover category. Expanding to more than the initial entrants, sonar and take a fishing line to the location of fish would be an interesting mix of capabilities for drones to deliver. This would include the concept of combing GPS reckoning, with the concept of 3d laser mapping to provide an absolute map of a location. Or the interesting category of GPS reckoning and 3d laser mapping merged with pothole and other road abnormality reporting. The potential in the drone market is huge.
Over the next twelve months (or technically 11 since my last drone post) I foresee the continued expansion of the drone market as well as the expansion of the capabilities available within the ROV and Drone market. The next interesting technology in the drone space will be the ability to buy a no-fly zone around your house. That way when you see a drone, you simply hit a button and it cannot come closer to your house. The no drone fly zone could be expanded beyond homes. There are already FAA rules that prohibit drones from flying in specific areas. The same could be done for ROV’s as well. No swim zones for ROV’s.
By Scott Andersen
Scott Andersen is the managing partner and Chief Technology Officer of Creative Technology & Innovation. During his 25+ years in the technology industry Scott has followed many technology trends down the rabbit hole. From early adopter to last person selecting a technology Scott has been on all sides. Today he loves spending time on his boat, with his family and backing many Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects.